I recently shared on this blog the focus I've had of trying to see God as he desires to be seen. It has been my New Year's decision, also my decision through Lent. So, I thought I'd share some 'vacation thoughts.' These are the thoughts that struck me on the first day of our time in Key Largo. Funny how being in a certain place can transport you to a different time. God is faithful.
"I am sitting inside the boatel (a houseboat that is permanently docked), looking out at the Key Largo Sound. The sea air pours in. This place Steve found is PERFECT for us. It's a step above camping, it's cheap, has a deck for enjoying the view, kayaks to use, a jetty to fish from. That's what Steve is doing right now. We arrived about 4 hours ago, rested, read some of Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" aloud, did a little driving around, made a stop at Publix (NO Ohio grocery stores compare). We'll grill steaks later - unless Steve hooks a big one!
I've had a couple of surprisingly emotional moments this week. The first one was as our plane approached Tampa. I spotted the water and was overwhelmed...overwhelmed with what I am not sure. Maybe a big part of me misses our life in Florida. Maybe that missing was followed up by a flood of memories of difficult days here - hospitals, work, uncertainty...And then there's Tam. I miss my friend. For me Clearwater = Tam, crazy, fun-loving, seeking, beautiful Tam. She and her family are now living back in France. Nonetheless, I can't drive around without thinking of riding with her, getting to know the local spots, hanging out at their apartment on the intercostal waterway. Her friendship during that year was God's gift to me.
Today I was again surprised by overwhelming emotion. My heart was gripped as I watched my girls walk without me toward airport security (they only joined us for the wedding weekend). They weren't alone. I knew Andrew, Kates, and Jame Jame wouldn't let anything happen to them. Thank God for family. Still, it felt weird and wrong.
They are now safely home with Grandma Hopper and will have a fine week without us. I will miss them and I will have fun without them and I will be ready to see them before it is time. Even as I sit here, I miss them.
I am thankful for this time, though - especially here in Florida. This is the place where my faith in God was forged. It was our apartment in Clearwater where I first discovered that I could no longer survive without recognizing God's active hand on my life. I needed God EVERYDAY. And God was faithful too many times to count. Even in my doubt and fear, God's hand was evident...often palpable.
I wasn't prepared for these memories. I'm sure it's because we lived here such a short time and so much happened in those years, but I find that my memories of living in Florida are the clearest memories of my life. This week we'll snorkel where we first took the girls snorkeling (John Pennekamp State Park). I will never forget Lizzie (as a 2nd grader) trying to be all grown up and "lay out" in the sun. I think she lasted 45 seconds. Nor will I forget Paige's little kindergarten fanny sticking up out of the water for HOURS as she snorkeled along the very shallow area at Cannon Beach. Those times are treasures.
It's nearly dark now. Steve will be back soon. Looks like we'll be having steak tonight..."