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Under the sea

January 8, 2015

Although the sun is shining bright on the prairie today, the scene outside my picture window is a little more than fantasy of a beautiful day. The weatherman says the temperature outside feels like 30 below due to the windchill. Morning chores done, I sit wrapped in a blanket surrounded by the glow of candles for a hygge-like trip down memory lane. I need this journey because after reading the letter from the mom of the sweet courageous, selfless young lady who passed on the bus in North Dakota, I am clinging to God’s promises of showers of blessings even in the midst of great trial.

There will be showers of blessings. Ezekiel 34:26

Last August, I embarked on the most amazing trip with my son. In reality, I only spent one day with him because he was attending the National Flight Academy. For me, this trip was one of desiring to place my feet deep within the roots of my childhood, hoping to get tangled there for a while.

After spending a few days with my grandmother, I drove from Opelika to Pensacola to simply hang out with my parents for the rest of the week. I don’t know why, but it was the most magical time I have had in a long run. Truth be told, I haven’t had my parents to myself in forty-two years. I am nothing if not patient, but that was a long time to wait. It was worth it, because we had a blast!  (Although, I thought they were trying to kill me when they took this Southern-transplanted Minnesota girl to clean out their storage shed on a 110 degree day.)

My parents have just about everything they could want in terms of material goods; so, a few years ago, I started giving them gifts of trips and adventures. Before I arrived, my dad called and asked if I would want to go with them on one such adventure – a day of snorkeling and kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico. Would I? That was about like asking me if I wanted sweet tea to go with my meal.

I was so excited! A day on my beloved Emerald Coast with just my mom and dad where I didn’t have to worry about anything or anybody! I believe everyone has a place on earth that brings them great joy. Those white sand beaches (and my vegetable garden) are mine.

My happy place!

My happy place!

Driving over to the pier and settling onboard the vessel were fairly uneventful. Although, we did meet a lovely Minnesota born and raised server at the What-A-Burger for breakfast. This will not be much of a shocker but yours truly won a little game called, “Who travelled the farthest to be on our little excursion today!” The prize wasn’t much other than a little repartee with the ship’s captain who happened to hale from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A free beverage would have been much more appreciated!

The trip to the man-made reef was a surprise all in itself as there were dolphins that escorted us along the way. They are absolutely the most amazing and entertaining hosts. We snorkeled for an hour or so until the tide came in. The fish were as diverse in their beauty as in their number. Even the moon jellies were captivating to watch float by!

Everything's better down where its wetter . . . under the sea.

Everything’s better down where its wetter . . . under the sea.

The last leg of our trip we journeyed over to the sound side of the island. We set anchor just mere yards away from my sweetie’s retirement village, where boaters anchor and have a floating city all day. Counting the days until that dream becomes a reality – especially on days like this one!

Where we hope to retire!

Where we hope to retire!

I will admit that on the way over there I was thinking they really should do this trip in reverse. The sound side is much less adventuresome than the gulf side. I could not have been more wrong in my thinking.

At this point, my mom had more than enough adventure; so it was just my dad and I exploring. I don’t know if it was the adventure part or true to her Southern roots she didn’t want to mess up her hair. (Sorry mom – it was a toss up!) My dad and I soon discovered there was just enough current that you could get in a good work-out without leaving your spot. Like cartoon characters who spin their “wheels” without going anywhere, here we were a mom and grandpa frolicking like we were Neptune’s children, uninhibited without a care in the world.

During that crazy moment was when I uncovered my greatest memento of the day. I reached down and found a complete shell (okay if I was going to get all science teacher on you, I would tell you it was an intact, minus its former inhabitant, bivalve shell). In all my years, I have never found one that still hinged and lined up perfectly like when it was someone’s home. I cradled that sweet treasure in my hands as I ran (I seriously did not care what I looked like) to my sweet mom’s shady spot on the banks of the sound.

At that moment, I wasn’t a forty-something momma and wife, I was transported back to the days of when I put flowers behind my ears for earrings and was the little mermaid I have always believed myself to be. Pure bliss washed over me as I showed her my discovery. It was truly one of my most magical moments!

Today, that little gem of the sea sits on my night stand to remind me of the day when my roots transported me back to a time I had long since forgotten. I might have gotten more tangled in seaweed and less in roots, but it was more than worth it. That tiny little shell is like an Ebenezer stone reminding that joy does come after the storm. Because even though, the Boy Wonder still had another surgery upcoming and the Girl Awesome is still healing, for one day I was simply God’s and my parents’  girl. That is not something to take lightly.  If not today, may someday soon will be one where a joy-filled moment finds you!

My version of the Ebenezer stone.

My version of the Ebenezer stone.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

Psalm 46: 1- 3 (NIV)

Music, like the sound of the waves lapping at the shore, always soothes my soul.  This song has brought me comfort in many tear-laden hours wrapped under that quilt.  If you are hurting today, may it bring you peace.

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