The timing of the beach trip was perfect. After counting the months, then down to the days, the
Since recently starting a prayer journal, I had been asking the Lord to give me opportunities...ones through which I could minister to others. The next morning, after a short walk of beachcombing, I had just settled down for a long awaited day on the beach, when I noticed a group of people gathering just a few feet from where I was sitting. One in particular caught my eye...the lady in a wheelchair.
As I watched the group slowly moving toward the water's edge, I immediately knew what was happening. This was a request from the woman in the wheelchair to her family...she wanted to see the ocean one more time. The family surrounded her, as if by being close they could not only protect her, but also not miss one moment of this extraordinary event. Perhaps it was because I had just experienced the loss of a long time friend the week before and emotions were easily stirred, but whatever it was, I saw the love in the faces of these strangers, the pure joy of sharing this brief time together.
I so wanted to get a picture of the woman, but it was difficult with everyone moving about. I already knew this was to be my next blog post and the story could not be told without a picture While the family was busy taking their photos, I tried not to be obvious...just another vacationer taking pictures of the beach. As I watched and waited for an opportunity, all of a sudden, there it was..a clear view of the woman and as I later learned, her sister. It was perfect...the two of them sitting quietly side by side, as if mesmerized by the awesome view of the ocean. They sat that way for a while, their family moving back, giving them these precious moments together.
I began to feel as if I was a partcipant in the scene playing out before me. I wanted to go and speak to someone, but didn't want to intrude. It was then that one of the grand daughters came to where I was sitting and asked if I would take a picture of the whole group. I was delighted! Why hadn't I thought of that? Everyone assembled together at the water's edge and several photos were taken. They were so appreciative, as was I for being given that opportunity.
I returned to my beach chair, thinking I would have to write the story from my perspective and with the little information I had gathered. One by one, they headed back to the house, all but two who were walking toward me. For whatever reason, they wanted to share what had been taking place. It was as I had thought, but was so grateful now that I knew for sure. I told them I wanted to tell their story in my blog. They were surprised but seemed to like the idea and asked if I would send them a copy. Had it been under different circumstances, I would like to have spent some time with them, but this was their family time, special moments that have already become treasured memories. What a gift this was! No monetary value, but priceless to all who shared in it.
I don't believe in chance or coincidence. Being a witness to this very personal display of a family's love was a Divine appointment. Of that I have no doubt. People come and go in our lives...some for a lifetime, some only briefly as this family did on that beautiful May morning, but what a blessing it was that I 'just happened' to be there.
We all returned home from the beach, but the memories live on...as does the salt air and the cry of the gulls. 'Precious memories, how they linger...'