Picture of beach

Lady on the Beach

Butterfly Kite    After our training with Wycliffe Bible Translators, we were headed home by way of some friends we met last summer. They live in Tampa, an hour and a half away. We had a few hours until they would be home and wanted to visit a beach on the Gulf of Mexico… so we headed West. We ended up at a pleasant and peaceful place called Honeymoon Island State Park. It was about noon, so just before the beach we we stopped to buy sub sandwiches for a fun lunch on the beach. After lunch, we walked the serene beach enjoying the warmth of the sun we felt a gentle ocean breeze that seemed to carry with it peace for the soul. There were a few others there taking in the serenity of the setting: a family with a young child running around, older adults reading, couples walking, and others enjoying the weathered benches placed there by people who had fond attachments to this beach. All seemed good and peaceful.
It was time to go, and Beth and Alyssa decided to walk back by way of the parking lot, while I walked the beach for just one more dose of serenity. I walked past a lady kneeling on the sand. Like others there, we hardly noticed each other in our moments of peacefulness. A few steps past her I realized that she was hurting, for she was out of place with the otherwise tranquillity of the setting. I took another step, continuing on my path, but then it hit me that something was wrong. I turned back and asked, “Are you okay ma’am?” No answer. She was sobbing. Her purse was open with her phone on top, cigarette in her one hand, the other holding her head. I knelt down and asked again, “Are you okay ma’am?” This time she acknowledged me and responded, but I could not understand her, for her voice was quiet and broken. I had to ask her to repeat herself, and then she was slowly able to tell me about the news she just received. Her recent phone call was about her boyfriend up north…he had died suddenly and unexpectedly. She told me that he was the one she intended to marry.Her world just fell apart. She was alone on Honeymoon Island Beach, far away from home…broken.
The irony of the situation and the clash of serenity and grief was intense. I was powerless to help. What could I say? What could I do? I asked her name and his name. I asked if she had friends here, “No, I’m by myself”. There was a brief silence while I wondered what to say next. The only think I could do was to pray with her. I asked if I could pray for her, and she readily accepted the offer. I let God’s words speak as I knew I had none. I did not feel comfortable asking for her contact information, for my wife, Beth, was not with me. I really wish she had been, because she is so good in these situations. I knew of no churches in the area, for I was a visitor as well. I told her I would continue to pray for her, and I asked if she needed anything. She shook her head and I walked away in prayer.
How many people are there on the beaches of life that are hurting and alone? How many people walk past, too focused in their small world? I felt very unprepared that day. I now try to keep a small book on hand from The Billy Graham Association, God’s Promises For Your Every Need. This scene keeps running through my mind, perhaps preparing me for another unexpected moment. I still pray for this lady and others like her who so desperately need the comfort of a loving God when all else falls away.broken

1 comment

  1. Ed Fox 2 years ago February 22, 2016

    Love the Web sight. Miss you all.

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