Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable.
Have you ever wondered, “Is Heavenly Dad real, does He know who I am, does He care?”
This week work took me to Manchester, New Hampshire. I was grateful beyond words that Heartfelt flew me in on an early flight because I had the opportunity to fulfill a dream: visit the state of Maine. It turned out to be more of an adventure than I had planned, as when Heavenly Dad is your “travel buddy,” you never know where the road will take you.
I had been toying with the idea of renting a car and driving to Maine since the moment I saw my travel itinerary. I voiced my thought to Taylor but that’s where my dream sorta stopped. My moving situation nudged me into just the right place at just the right time. Oh, wait, that would be the orchestration of Heavenly Dad.
ALL of my crafting supplies are in boxes and storage until the Cat House is a bit more organized. Last weekend was the scrapping weekend I told you about and I had Thank You cards that needed to be folded, die cut, stamped, more die cutting, more die cutting and more die cutting. Did I mention die cutting??? To be honest, I knew where to start but the middle and the end of the project was more than a little foggy.
Heartfelt came to my rescue again. The team allowed me to come in a couple of hours early each day, off the clock, to prepare my project. Not only that, Pollyanna, supervisor of the card kit area, talked me through each step of what I wanted to do, ensuring that I had everything needed to complete my project, lifting my fog.
During my time of stamping and die cutting (and die cutting and die cutting) Pollyanna, her assistant Connie and I would chat. I mentioned the trip to New Hampshire and shared with them my dream of visiting Maine and sticking my feet in the ocean. I even got up enough nerve to ask their opinion,”What do you guys think? It would probably be $50-100?” They, knowing I am a single income with limitations, were super supportive!!! With their cheering echoing in my mind, I made the car rental reservation.
AHHH! I was really doing this!!!
From South Bend to Detroit I flew, loving the Detroit terminal with the lighted tunnel that changed colors, to Manchester, New Hampshire!!! I was so excited, scared and nervous I could have exploded!…or thrown up, I’ve heard it both ways.
I made my way to Hertz to pick up a small economy car. What I ended up with was a snazzy silver midsize car with a push button start—what?!?! “That’s quite the comfy but complicated ride,” I’m secretly confessing to Heavenly Dad. Ok, so I may or may not have frozen after climbing behind the wheel as my inner self reminded me of how much I loath driving in unfamiliar areas. I whispered my fears to my travel buddy and we were off…kinda. Maybe a hint or two from the the rental company about where the emergency break was located and how the heck to turn it off would have been a nice courtesy but whispering yet another prayer, I made it out of the garage. Yeah!
Nearly two hours flew by as I made my way to the town of Coastal Park. It might have been because I could not see the clock because my eyes were glued to the road, hands with white knuckles gripping the steering wheel and body frozen in my seat due to torential rain and traffic. Naaaaah.
I was almost there when I saw a sign referencing Boston. “Wow! Boston! I was there last year and went to one Red Socks game.” It was fun for the four innings the traveling team and I saw, but it was dark when we had arrived to the city on a “school night,” aka the night before a show day. Limited time for fun, work needed to be done! I digress.
I arrived to the nearly deserted little coastal town, the pouring rain changing to a drizzle. I parked in front of a very welcoming but closed restaurant located a few short steps from a mountain of sand standing between me a my dream, and that’s when it hit me: I have no one to share this moment with. My stomach hurt.
I blinked hard and fast to clear my vision from the tears clouding my sight. The rain felt like the sky was crying with me as I carefully made my way up the slippery boardwalk to the mountain’s peak. I took a deep breath and stepped into the sight line of the Atlantic Ocean licking the shore of Maine, but numbness had set in.
“I see it. What now?” I thought as I could hear the droplets of rain hitting my jacket. From the mountain top I could see down the shoreline: not a soul was out and about on this forty-some-odd degree rainy day. Do I?
”Well, I’m here… .”
I made my way down to the beach, tears still desperately trying to escape. I was watching my feet more than the shoreline, passing sea shells but paying little attention. As I stood staring at the ocean, there was silence but for the crashing waves and the pitter pat of the droplets, my jacket now beginning to take in the rain. It was then that Heavenly Dad nudged me.
I looked down the beach and saw the houses dotting the shoreline but not one person out. I saw that the entire sandy beach was solid because of the rain and I could walk comfortably anywhere and for as long as I wanted to—in my tennis shoes! I saw the sea shells I had passed were as big as my hands, bigger than I as ever seen and close in proximity! The bottom line is, when I took my focus off of myself, I saw that Heavenly Dad reserved that beach, that day, just for me! He gave me the sound of the waves without background noise. He put my feet on solid sand (I never would have thought I could walk to the water and not get sand in my shoes!!!) He even allowed me to take my shoe off and step into the water without gawking eyes or judgement.
He did that all for me!
I walked the shoreline for a bit collecting shells. Realizing the water was beginning to penitrate my jacket and tiny streams of water were now running down my scalp, I decided to be grateful for my personal tour and head back to the mountain.
With hands full, I followed my footprints across the solid sand wondering what to do with my sea shell treasure. My path ended as I approached the very first shell I had passed but ignored. As I s stared, again Heavenly Dad nudged. I piled the shells and took a picture with my hand to give reference to these enormous shells. When I stood up to look at the picture I saw the sandy swirl and the flower the pile of shells had made—completely by accident! I snapped a few more shots and headed back. In the distance I could see the mountain coming closer, but I stopped. Turning abruptly, I truged back. Near my sea shell flower I had seen a glimpse-a reminder-of what was waiting for me at home.
I bent over and scooped up mis-matched, uneven but somehow connected, purple shells that are in the shape of:
angel wings! Wow!!!
Dripping my way back to the car, I reached in, grabbed napkins I took with me for Kleenex’s and squeezed out my hair. Removing my jacked, I was shocked to find only slightly damp shoulders beneath. I was much dryer than expected, turned on the heat and sat for a moment. It was then that Heavenly Dad gently reminded me: I “felt” alone because I have no one to share the memories like,”do you remember we we went to….” BUT then I remembered that I did once have that, with Archie, and my reality is that I don’t have anyone to talk about those shared memories NOW. Technically, it’s the same (at least He’s gentle and not all “know it all” and what not😉).
With that, my travel buddy I were off, as at that moment I-knew-that-I-knew-that-I-knew: I was not alone. Another nudge and we were headed to Old Town Boston.
A ways down the road before my turn I see a sign for Providence, Rhode Island. “ I didn’t know that was so close…hmmmm. Nah. OLD TOWN BOSTON HOO-OOH!!” Unfortunatey, the little shops were closed due to the evening hour. I took skads of pictures of colonial houses butted against sidewalks lining narrow streets, a harbor barge and fishing boats, a distant light house, rocky water’s edge, and on and on. No time table, pressure, or expectations.
”One more picture aaaaaand…..how far away is Rhode Island?” Yep, away “we” went. What was to fear? I was not alone.
The “alone” feeling is not one that is a “one and done” feeling. For me, it is a constant battle, renewing my mind over and over again, whispering when my heart aches and begging for peace that passes understanding when I so badly want to share something but…there is noone there.
In the darkness, He is there. The peace seeps into my soul as I cry out and Heavenly Dad reminds me: I was and am created for a purpose. I can not control what happens around me but I can focus on Him and choose how I react to it(often failing miserably-but He’s patient and forgiving). “Renewing my mind/refocusing my thoughts,” as always, trying to get out of HIS way so my joy will be complete (joy He gives/I choose to accept, happiness is a fleeting feeling of mine).
Until next time: Blessings!