Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Beach Blessing


Yesterday, I felt like a tourist.

We packed a picnic basket with ice and drinks and bag of salt and pepper chips that I can't stop eating. We drove the few miles south to the central area of Daytona Beach.

Milt loves Daytona Beach because they allow cars to drive on it. He gets to look at the water and automobiles - all at one time.

For years, Milt and I have made this stop on every trip to Florida. There is something magical about waking up to the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean, so our hotels were always upgraded slightly to include an ocean view room.

The trouble with vacations is that the weather doesn't always cooperate. Many times we were at Daytona on cloudy, cool days. We would stubbornly plunk down on our beach towels, wearing sweatshirts with the wind whipping sand pellets at our faces, refusing to admit that this just wasn't working.

Today wasn't one of those days. It was Good Friday and the beach was packed. We squeezed our Kia Soul into the first available spot. The sun was full-on gorgeousness. But no longer had we sat down then a young couple in their 20s came walking up to us, smiling.

The guy turned to Milt and said, "Do you mind if we talk to you for a minute?" To which my husband quickly replied, "What are you selling?"

"Nothing," he said, shaking his head. The girl added, "I felt like we were supposed to come and talk to you." "Yes," he nodded. Now they were crouching down in front of us.

Why are they crouching? Why are they in our space?

"I think you have something you are meant to give away," the young man explained. "Not necessarily money. Land?"

Are they selling timeshares? I wondered... what is this? Why are they two blocking my view?

"And, you," she said, pointing at me. "You are meant to give as well, something about being a hairstylist. Creative?"

There was an uncomfortable silence. I was completely confused. Who were these people, and why were they tell me to be a hairstylist? Was it too much to be left alone for one moment? I hadn't even put suntan lotion on yet.

"We're Christians," he said.

Oh...oh...oh...the clouds cleared. I get it. I had been there. I had done evangelism in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago. They were evangelizing...me.

"We are too," I said.

They continued to talk about college and what they hope to do. I told them about Moody, and Milt told them about my book. They were adorable, really. They are dating and trying their best to do what God tells them to do. And this time He told them to talk to us.

And then they asked if they could pray for us. And they blessed us. And it was really beautiful.

The rest of the day was ordinary. We ate oysters at the Ocean Deck. Walked on the boardwalk and played skeeball. Bought a shell-covered souvenir.

But I won't forget that prayer. Even though my introverted self rebelled against such an intrusion, it was a lovely start to our day. A moment of consecration of ordinary life. It was a Good Friday beach blessing.
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