If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:9-10 NIV)
Help me accept and be grateful for middles, endings and new beginnings. (Melodie Beattie, The Language of Letting Go)
On Friday, I threw my keys into the sea. Not on purpose. I noticed sand in the bottom of my purse, so I took everything out to shake out the sand. While shaking out sand, I watched the keys sink. You may think that I’m taking this all very calmly. And I am. Because I have another set of keys in safekeeping at home.
There was something freeing though to think that I could throw my keys into the sea, and not be in a panic about it. I didn’t need to jump in the frigid water to rescue them. I didn’t need to keep saying to myself how stupid it was to throw keys away. Even my husband remained calmed about the situation. We knew that we had grace, the grace of an extra set of keys.
This brings to mind how God throws our sin into the sea. I don’t need to jump in and go get it back. I don’t need to keep telling myself how bad I’ve been or how rebellious my heart has been at times. I have grace, the grace of an extraordinary love that forgives completely. Infinite grace fills my heart with relief and freedom to live.
Today marks the middle of our adventure of living on Intuition. We have been on the water for close to a month now. It’s been a pause from our regular routine. It’s been a rekindling of our marriage, as we look ahead to the “empty nest” season. And we have another month to bask in this gift from the One who made the seas, who guides us and holds us securely in His love.
On Saturday, we ate at the same restaurant twice. We were looking for a coffee house. It was closed for Christmas weekend. We drove around the corner and saw a place that was serving breakfast, so we chose to eat there. We sat by the window looking out on St. Andrews bay. I ordered shrimp and grits with a fried egg on top. I was surprised when the owner/cook delivered my breakfast.
She told me, “I added a grilled biscuit to your plate because I really like them.” I was like, okay. Then I bit into the biscuit. Heavenly, yet it gets better. The cook leans over our booth and places an unopened jar of homemade blackberry jelly on the table.
We overheard her talking to another patron about the “orchestra” that was scheduled to perform at the restaurant that afternoon. I stopped her and asked if it was the Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews (I had read about them in a local magazine.) She was surprised that I had heard of them. I looked at Les and we both agreed we would return for lunch and the concert. We were delighted by the orchestra and enjoyed scrumptious sandwiches. We found out the Four Winds Grill had just opened six days prior to our serendipitous visit. We didn’t eat dinner that night.
On Sunday, we relaxed and talked about the things we hadn’t done since arriving here. Two different people recommended the local pub, Patches, for their wings and pizza. While I was out jogging, I noticed a sign advertising “Happiest Hour,” so I suggested to Les that we go there for a late lunch and to watch football. We ordered a local favorite, tuna dip. Smoked tuna prepared with mayo and spices, which then you eat with tortilla chips. Les also ordered wings, and me a French Dip with sweet potato fries. We didn’t eat dinner that night, either.
On Monday, Les worked while I went to Wal-mart twice. I spent my Christmas gift card from my mom and bought clothes that I returned. The second time, I came back with a light weight sweater and hooded jacket. That evening we drove to Miramar Beach to have dinner with Katie, a dear family friend, who moved to this area a couple years ago with her husband. It was great to catch up, and we enjoyed delicious seafood. (Is this becoming a foodie blog?)
Tomorrow, we will take our boat out of the water and trailer it to the Tampa area, arriving at the Marker One marina on New Year’s Day.
Beginnings and endings come and go like the tides, but the middle is where the best living happens.
It’s easy to get into a reflective mood, as we end this year and this phase of our trip. We took trays of cookies to the staff and crew here to thank them for such superb service, but most of all for treating us as if we were their only guests, which literally we were some days. But I truly believe their personable, excellent service was their heartbeat. If you ever need a marina, we highly recommend Pirates Cove in Panama City Beach, Florida. (I think I have some salty water in my eyes, and it’s not from the ocean.)
Happy New Beginnings. Savor the endings and be grateful for the middles.