Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Faith, Hope, Love: What They Mean to Me

Faith is...

~ believing that this little baby who can't walk or talk but who can spit up and have diaper blow-outs, necessitating numerous changes of clothing each day...
...and this little toddler who can walk, can just barely talk, and can make such a mess at mealtime that he too needs his clothes changed...
...will someday grow up to be men: big, strong, healthy, confident, Godly men (who feed themselves and do their own laundry). Men who are "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." (Isaiah 61:3)

Do I have the faith for this?


Hope is...

~ looking around me... a chaotic, cluttered kitchen...
...and choosing to focus on a spot of order and beauty.
"What a beautiful canister set," I say. "How clean the counter is in front of it. I think I can make the whole kitchen look that neat before the little ones get up from naps and quiet time to make it messy again!"

Do I have the hope for this?


Love is...

~ learning to ignore the mess so I can...
...appreciate the mess-makers!
Do I have the love for this?


We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 (The Message)


Days 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, & 25 - Whew, I really got behind with this! But that's OK because a catch-up day will give me the chance to share quite a few of the memories that I have from our annual vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. These are some of the very happiest memories I have from childhood (and that's really saying something because I have SO MANY happy memories!).

I remember the days and weeks and months of anticipation that preceded vacation. My brother David and I would make lists of EXACTLY what we needed to take: red shirt, navy blue shirt, jean shorts, black shorts, pink shorts (well, David never wrote pink shorts on his list!), sweatshirts, socks, flip-flops, sunglasses, toothbrush, notebook, sunscreen, spending money--anything and everything that we could possibly think of went on that list. As the time approached, we would make a spot in the house where we could begin to gather our things. At least half the fun of the whole event was the anticipation!

And then when the day finally arrived, we woke up quickly, early, happily, energetically, ready for the very long car ride, which had its own delights. We got to munch on sugar cereals like Apple Jacks or Fruit Loops (something we never got to do at home), and we each had a bag of assorted candy to make the ride go faster. As we approached the Hampton Roads area, we still had hours of travel left; but the sight of the ocean and the trip through the tunnel made us feel like we were almost there! We stopped along the way to eat, of course; and our favorite restaurant by far was Fisherman's Wharf in Wanchese (which is no longer in business, sadly).

As we traveled south on the Outer Banks to get to the cottage in which we always stayed, we began to search the horizon in front of us for our first glimpse of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We actually knew that until we went around a certain curve of the road in the town of Avon, we wouldn't be able to see it; but that didn't stop us from looking while we were still far north of that point! We had it narrowed to such an exact science that we knew that whoever was sitting in the front passenger seat would see it first as we came around that bend, but the rest of us still looked for it anyway. :)

It's impossible to use enough words or to arrange them creatively enough to convey our sense of excitement through all of this. Arriving in Buxton, turning down the familiar streets (we literally memorized the list of all the roads we would need to take to get us from our driveway to the beach house), pulling up in front of the house in which we always stayed (it belonged to the parents of some family friends of ours; and when we first started going there, we got to stay for free because of my mother's piano accompanying work that she did for our local Christian school), getting out of the Suburban, smelling the salt air, hearing the ocean waves rolling just past the dune (our cottage was in the second row of houses, and we could see the ocean from the porch), feeling the sand beneath our feet, climbing the steps, entering the rooms that held such fun memories for us from previous years, unpacking, getting ready to go to the water for the first time, knowing that we got to have a week--A WHOLE WEEK--in such a wonderful place. It was heavenly.

There was a shelf in the dining area that held various books, puzzles, games, etc.; and one year, someone had left a pair of those silly glasses that have a big plastic nose and fuzzy eyebrows attached. We had the best time with those glasses! All week, we tried to trick each other by putting them on at the most unexpected times and suddenly appearing in front of someone (like when they were just coming out of the bathroom). We laughed to no end at how silly we all looked in them.

At the beach, we knew there would be TIME: time to play games, in particular. At home, we rarely played games as a family because there was always work to do (for Dad, at his office, and for all of us, either inside the house or in the yard and garden or schoolwork during the school year). But at the beach, we could--and did--play games to our hearts' content.

Playing in the water was, of course, a highlight. I remember being really small and not wanting to venture too far from my mother's side. I would run and splash in the water as it broke on the shore, but I didn't dare go too deep. My mother, who does not like to be in water, would stay on the shore, letting us bury her feet in the sand and (I now realize) constantly looking around to make sure that all of us were safe. When I'm out with my children now, I find myself doing headcounts without even realizing it; and I know she did a multitude of those during our days at the beach.

One year (maybe more?) a shark or two were spotted off the coast, so everyone cleared out of the water in a hurry. It's funny how, when you're standing on the sand looking out into the water and feeling paranoid, any little wave can look exactly like a shark fin. A few years, we saw dolphins; and they were both fun to watch and reassuring (since, according to our understanding, if there were dolphins, there were NOT sharks in the area).

Besides spending time on the beach itself and in the cottage, we also took various trips: ALWAYS to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, sometimes a ferry ride to Ocracoke, sometimes a trip north to the Nags Head area to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial and then over to Manteo to see The Lost Colony (a dramatic production that told the story of the first settlers in the area). We took food (and bought some in the local grocery store) so we ate most of our meals in the beach house, but we always went out to eat one or two times during the week.

Fishing: that was another fun activity. We had poles for ocean fishing; and not only would we fish on the beach in front of our house, but also sometimes we would go to the pier to fish, or to the jetties by the old lighthouse site, or to The Point where the land jutted out into the ocean and the fishing was supposedly better. We caught several kinds of fish: spot, croaker (which you could really hear croaking if you held them up to your ear), occasionally a sand shark, once in a while some flounder. I loved the process of catching fish and didn't even mind being part of the cleaning of the fish on the old wooden table behind the house; I never had the responsibility for fully cleaning the fish, so I could just watch and enjoy while I swatted at the mosquitoes that would always swarm around us out there. I did NOT, however, want to eat the fish, since I had (have) a strong aversion to seafood. My parents' (wise, I now know) policy was that we had to take a little of every food that was served, and then eat everything on our plate, so usually when we had fish, I had to choke down a tiny bite. One time however, my sister Donna had mercy on me and convinced Mom and Dad that I really didn't need to eat any fish. They finally agreed, so Donna fixed sugar toast for me instead. Yum, much better! :)

I could write for hours about our times at the beach, but the hands of the clock keep turning and I need to make some preparations for Thanksgiving so I'm going to end this by simply saying: I'm so thankful for ALL these happy memories!!!


Polly said...

Lovely, Davene! I love the photo of the canisters, how beautiful, and you're right--it's all about finding the meaning amidst the chaos! xo Happy Thanksgiving!

Sally said...

It is so interesting to read about some of your memories from going to the beach. I think that Suburban you mentioned traveling in is the one my parents eventually got from you all. It served us well, and was SO MUCH BETTER than our Chevrolet car that we were all sardined in for so long.

I also loved all the Faith, Hope, & Love parts of the post. I remember that sometime long before Paul was potty-trained, a family with 3 boys came and sang at our church. As they stood up there and sang, what struck me the most, was the realization that they could all go to the potty by themselves! They could all dress themselves, feed themselves, and bathe themselves. THAT is what impressed me. The day does come, and then I guess these years will seem short and fleeting in retrospect.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Loved what faith, hope and love are to you...I can so relate.