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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dog on the Beach

The sand on the Hawaiian beach was pure white, the sky above a brilliant blue, but with eyes squeezed shut to hold in the tears, I really didn’t’ see much of it. Waves were crashing on the shore but I couldn’t hear much of it above my own sobs. The sand was soft and warm but I only knew that because I kept picking up handfuls and letting it run through my fingers to keep from screaming. It was a perfect Hawaiian day. And I was a perfect mess. In the past six weeks, I had made it through two funeral services for Dave, traveled from Honolulu to Pittsburgh to Tampa and back home to base housing in Hawaii.

Now it was time to pack up the house, move to the mainland with my girls and begin again. I guess leaving the last place we had lived together as a family was one more end of life as a ‘we’. And the beginning of a lot more of ‘I and ‘me’. And that was really, really hard to imagine.

Eventually, though, I reached the end of my sobs and there was a quiet stillness in between the ragged breaths. Kind of a ‘what now?’ sense of expectation.

“Ok, Lord, here we are’, I sniffed. ‘And since it’s just me and you, I really , really , really need to know you are with me’.

Being a dramatic kind of girl, I thought it would be just great if God would show off there on that beach and give me a sign. I mean a SIGN. Like maybe a school of dolphins frolicking in the waves. Or a gorgeous Hawaiian rainbow as a right now sign of His promises. I sat there on the sand with eyes still shut, There weren’t any eloquent prayers, just a whispered ‘Please, Jesus, help me’, and a desperate hope that He would give me what I needed to make it through the next steps of this journey. I felt His peace wash over me and just knew I would open my eyes to see some sort of confirmation.


I slowly pried open my swollen eyes to check out the horizon. Nope, no school of dolphins there. I peered up into the sky, squinting to see if maybe, just maybe there was an edge of a rainbow, or a Holy Spirit dove shaped cloud ( I told you I was desperate!). Nope, no rainbow, no dove.

But what was that weird noise? Kind of a huffy sort of wheeze over my right shoulder. I turned and there beside me on the sand was a dog. Not just a dog but a DOG, a big brown furry retriever of some sort. As I cocked my head at him, he took two steps closer and leaned up against me. And sighed. Wet fur and all.

And in that moment I felt like God kind of whispered to my heart,

‘That’s how close I am. Just as close as this wet dog leaning up against you. And we are going into the future together…just that close ‘.

I have thought of that dog so many times over the past few years. And smiled at God’s sense of humor. And marveled at His closeness.

There may not be dolphins and rainbows, but we have the absolute assurance that no matter what happens, and no matter where our journey takes us, He is with us.

Not because we feel He is with us or we sense He is with us but simply because He has promised to be.

With us.

Emmanuel.

God with us.

I love that.

I pray you have a ‘wet dog leaning up against you’ closeness from Jesus today. He’s that close.

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