I have spent a week in a past life. It’s been a good vacation but I think a true vacation means a city you’ve never lived in where you walk about in anonymity. This week I was staying in my grandmother’s condo on one of the world’s most famous beaches – Daytona. It is a beautiful wide stretch of beach with reefless waters teeming with an array of ocean wonders.
It is also teeming with childhood memories. It is the back drop of my parents’ love story. It is where I learned to swim. It is where I played “Odd or Even” counting pelicans. And this week it is where I missed my mom so much I could hardly stand it. Proudly, I only cried once (I might tell you the scenario later. You’ll cry too.)
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great trip. I had a variety of extended family including six cousins aged 18 and under, my best friend, and my Dad all there at different points through the vacation. We all pulled off a pretty smashing 80th birthday party for Mom’s mom. I can’t quite do that party justice.
I can’t adequately describe the mix of elderly guests not quite sure of where they were, the minister who asked me if I was a drinker, my mom’s high school best friend and her husband regaling my dad with tales of mutual friends and the Lives They Lead, the 95 year-old who was quite deaf and quite the sharpest mind at the party. She could take the NCLEX for me.
Dad and I took long walks down the beach and talked about Mom and life and marriage and love and family and heaven. Lindsey and I read books with chairs positioned perfectly in the shallows every morning. The cousins and I watched pelicans dive bomb and manta jump (they jump!) and dolphins play and even found a bed of sand dollars under our feet. Grandmom and I talked family history. And shopped. And shopped. So I had good times. But first my dad left, and then Lindsey, and finally I was left without ties to my present. I was with family who loved me but I felt alone. I was hearing stories of my grandparents’ past and my parents’ past and these are valuable stories. But I have decided that the past is not as valuable as the future. You can argue me on that, I’ll gladly listen. But I’m right. The past is good to know like a book. You read it, it adds to who you are. You might read it again. But maybe not. The future gives purpose and hope like a living thing.
The times I felt true peace this week is when I got up to watch the sunrise. In case you didn’t know, the sun rises over the ocean over here. Pretty trippy. Like a reverse sunset. I sat and I watched the light sneak up and I thought about newness and purpose and eternity. I thought about the future and I thought about how God is really good to give us sunrises.
I thought about those things again as I flew out of Daytona at 6 a.m. and saw the sunrise from above the clouds. There are times that I lean against the window of the airplane, bravely viewing the countryside and contemplating life. And then we hit a bump and that stops. But it lasted long enough to miss mom in a good and hopeful way. I am on my way home to the new. I can’t wait to set foot on Hawaiian soil again. Well done, God. Well done, Mom and Dad. You have made that place my home and my heart and my future. Look for your sunrises and look to your futures. God is so good to give us both.