Vacation Muse

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Morning waves pound the shoreline.

Soaring, hungry seagulls screech aloft.

Energized waves swell, then tumble

into foamy, sand-laden disarray. Beach

bathers gingerly extend toes to test

the briny foam’s integrity. Sun rays

sport a game of hide-and-seek with

thinning clouds. An airplane’s motor

strains to tow a banner with its siren

call to more exciting pleasure coves.

Umbrellas pop open among the dunes

like fanciful, sprouting mushrooms.

Two lovers pause to share a kiss,

then save the moment with selfie smiles.

Such is life seen from a hotel balcony

one balmy July morning, while a worker

skims the froth from an adjacent pool.

Thirty-seven years ago, Sharon French Logan and I joined our hands, hearts, and lives together before God and people in the church where I was a pastor. We’d both been down such a path before, only to end up painfully divorced and feeling broken. We pledged to love, honor and cherish each other, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health.” The intervening years have held experiences reflecting the breadth of life embraced by that vow.

This week we celebrate our anniversary. Our bond of love still holds. We are more vibrant, stronger, and wiser for all we’ve been through. God has been our anchor. God’s love for us has enriched our love for God, each other, our family, and many people he has placed in our path. We stand before God now, as we did then, in gratitude, humility, and eternal hope.

A few years after our wedding, we moved to serve a different congregation. One of the families there owned a cottage at Nags Head, which they generously invited us to use for a week each summer. Those summer vacations became healing times of bonding and strength amidst the stresses of church and family life. We always found our spirits refreshed by the presence of God we sensed on this fragile strip of  North Carolina land that forms a seaside buffer to the Atlantic Ocean.

Even after the family who owned the cottage and we had moved on in our lives, the Outer Banks has continued to call us. It’s still a place of renewal we cherish. A few years ago when Sharon recovered from dementia via a brain shunt that corrected a neurological condition, one of our first acts was to spend a few days on the Outer Banks. It was restorative then, as always before. The same is true of our days there this week.

What a blessing. Thanks be to God.