A Story of the Past Told in the Present

A girl is walking on a narrow road, so narrow that it only allows for cars to go either towards the sea or away from the sea, though it is paved, which makes the way easy to follow. There is no traffic and she knows that there won’t be. She is walking slowly, but confident in her direction, having taken this way once or twice before. The path curves to the right and to the left, and is also quite hilly, sloping ever downward.  The girl takes notice of the land around her; on either side of the road the land is not heavily wooded, but plants grow abundantly,  here and there the rocky ground is exposed. There are so many rises and dips to the land that she cannot see the end to her journey.

The sea is some distance from where the girl is living, but it won’t be long now. She is where her heart has longed to be. The day is fair and the temperature is not chill, though the sun is covered by a layer of clouds; all she needs is her most comfortable zippered sweatshirt. She is so content in this moment that there is no room for disquieted thoughts. She continues to walk, passing only a few houses along the way.

Finally, the land flattens out and an area of level masonry, like large regularly shaped stones comes into view surrounded by a low wall, wide enough for one to sit. Below this wall, perhaps ten feet down is a small sandy beach, with low stretches of land to the left and to the right that shelter this place. The sea washes gently onto the shore; its waves showing no white as they crest. The girl makes her way down a sandy ramp to the seashore. She does not see anyone and relishes in the serenity of being alone in this beautiful place. She stands there for a moment, wondering what she is going to do. But, she does not hesitate for long.

The girl looks around her for a place to pray. The last time on this beach, she had rolled up her jeans and where the water met the sand had run in sheer delight of where she was. Here and now, she knows she has to thank the One who brought her to Ireland.  She finds her place soon enough; it is a large rounded boulder close to the water’s edge. She seats herself cross-legged and clasps her hands loosely in her lap. There is a single gull nearby and he is her only company except for God. 

The girl closes her eyes and feels peace settle over her as she begins a prayer of thanksgiving. She knows God was there from the first time she called on Him for help.  As she sits still and quiet, her memories recall the long months before landing in Shannon, Ireland.  She remembers the strength God gave her for this journey, the courage to tell her mom what she wanted to do, what she needed to do. Once or twice it felt as if her heart was being torn in two; the need for independence, warring with her long accustomed role of amenable daughter. However, the girl is not home; she is here in Ireland, and it is lovely. She realizes that she could not have done this without Him.            

The girl does not completely forget about the tide though, she knows it could start rising at any time, so she glances up now and again, She keeps seeing that gull, now bobbing in the water and muses over what it is doing staying so close by.  Once she hears what could be a person’s shoe slipping on a rock, but there is still no one and she closes her eyes again. During this time, the wonder of God’s gift never leaves her.

When the girl at last looks at the water again, she thinks the waves are reaching further onto the shore. A minute later, she is certain of it, they are almost level to the rock where she is sitting.  She jumps down from her perch and walks a short way along the shoreline and then stops. She turns to face the sea and bows slightly, one leg in front of the other, arms out, head down, honoring God for His blessing.  Only then does the girl turn back to the road.

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