SUNSET ON THE GULF OF MEXICO
by Debra L. McKeen Sparks
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
It was just before dusk that we made our way out from our condominium and onto the warm white sand beaches. We intended to meander our way along the length of the beach to our intended dinner destination; The Mucky Duck, while at the same time, take pleasure in the close of the day, watching as the sun sank slowly into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It never ceased to be awesome to me how as the sun set, the skies turned from their brilliant cerulean blue into the subtle shades of pink and then purple. Then, right before the sun had found its bed below the horizon, a display of brilliant orange and red would settle for a brief encore on the horizon, reflecting back its fire in the warm Gulf waters.
I love the feel of the sand under my feet when the surf comes in and then goes back out, taking with it the sand from beneath my toes. I have stood for long periods of time, until my feet were completely sunk into the sand, and the water was swirling around my ankles, loving the feel of that sensation.
We had been "busy" that day. I had managed to wake before my husband and had quietly tiptoed into the kitchen to prepare for him a “sumptuous” breakfast. It seemed that nearly every day of our vacation, he was the one out of bed at the crack of dawn and in the kitchen. He always woke me by leaning down to whisper, “Good Morning my darling, here is your coffee.” And sure enough, he had stood before me with a steaming mug of coffee and then had retreated back to the kitchen while I sat up in bed, sipping the delicious and lovingly prepared ‘café’ as he put the finishing touches on breakfast. He would return and lead me to a table, always decorated with fresh hibiscus or azalea blossoms and laden with platters of fresh fruit and wedges of Gouda cheese or plates of eggs and sausage or bacon, or warm croissants and blackberry jam. It was always a treat. I never ceased being amazed at his refined ability to make the perfect “over-easy” fried egg, a talent which I was still unable to master. We would linger over the breakfast table, tentatively putting plans together for the day ahead, or just enjoying some quiet time before making our way out into the breaking new day.
This morning, I had been pretty impressed with myself for sneaking out of bed before him and thrilled as I brought in the breakfast tray. I had bent over him and whispered into his ear, “good morning” and when he opened his eyes, he had smiled, chuckled, stretched and exclaimed over how “awesome” my offering was. I had presented the repast with as much flare as I could muster and then I had crawled in next to him so we could enjoy our breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, toast, fresh squeezed orange juice and hot coffee together.
Later in the morning we had made our way to the beach to walk along and take in the sights, sounds, and the surf that day-break always brings. We had collected shells and treasures along the way during our morning walk and then decided to return to sip another cup of coffee on our beautiful screened in porch and talk a little as more activity unfolded below us on the beach.
This was our vacation, our time of restoration and every moment of it was precious; our time together extraordinary and intimate.
We rested in our lounge chairs and listened as the morning buzz began and the noises of the beach came alive. The gentle breeze fluttered through the palm trees that stood sentinel beside our upper level screened-in porch. This porch always reminded me of living in a sort of paradise tree-house and I loved it here. More than anything, I loved being here with the love of my life. I loved and treasured our moments spent in restfulness and in the company of one another. I treasured every nuance of the man I had been given as husband. I thrilled at the very thought of spending time with him – simply with him. We didn’t even have to be doing anything. Just resting in his presence flooded my heart with peace and a security and a joy so full, it felt like I could not contain it.
Later in the afternoon, we had taken the small sail boat out on the water to discover a secluded cove off one of the neighboring tiny islands. We had followed along behind a school of dolphins as they played in the warm waters.
Now, as we strolled quietly along the expanse of the beach enthralled with the close of the day, the little terns flitting in and out of the surf to gather their dinner of coquina, I reflected how wonderful it felt to walk hand-in-hand with him. I contemplated the hours of the day that we had spent in repose, in one another’s presence, in simple communion of souls and intimacy of heart. A day full of pure enjoyment, a day of renewal, breathing life and wonder into our relationship; simply loving, nurturing and resting in the awesomeness and the power of our unity.
“Oh Lord,” I thought to myself, “If the appearance of this earthly and created place; if the love of another human being is so beautiful and quickening, how much more shall we be enraptured at the sight of the unspeakable glory of seeing You? Cause me Lord to come to you each day in this same way – to rest with you.”
And the sound of the sweetest voice broke open in my heart,
“Oh my child, how I love to have you sit at my feet, to love me and allow me to love you. How I long for you to rest in my presence, to find your safety and security in My enduring love. Do you not know that many waters cannot quench my love for you? Floods cannot drown it. I have set you as a seal upon my heart. For my love is stronger than even death. I desire you, and long for your presence. I am jealous for your joy and for all that is good and perfect and right, for those things which will create wholeness and life in you. My left hand is under your head, and I embrace you in my right. My love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Come – walk here, beside me, and rest in my presence and in My joy, for My joy is complete.” (Songs 8)
"Oh Lord", I responded to His whisper in my spirit, "cause me to never rush headlong into my day without stopping to love you. Help me to remember that you waken me every morning, with a cup of your comfort ready for me to partake of. You lay before me a feast of your nourishing and beautiful word; the delight of your presence. Help me to realize my Lord, how you thrill over me every morning and so desire to plan out with me the day that will lie ahead and how we might walk beside one another, communing in each others presence. My heart floods with joy as I consider myself, being held against your breast. Cause me Lord to always seek the joy that comes from relaxing in your presence, in the purity and awesomeness of your love; in the power, peace, safety and security that you can provide better than any other. Draw me precious Lord near to your heart and fill me with praise and fullness of joy as I walk beside still waters, and even in those times when the rains come and the lighting cracks the sky and the thunders roll.
Thank you Lord, for using this earthly love you have blessed us with to remind me of your love for me -- for your love for him."
God of love and God of power,
Grant us in this burning hour
Grace to ask these gifts of Thee,
Daring hearts and spirits free.
All our lives belong to Thee,
Thou our final loyalty;
Slaves are we whene'er we share
That devotion anywhere.
God of love and God of power,
Make us worthy of this hour,
Offering lives if it's Thy will,
Keeping free our spirits still.
(Gerald Kennedy 1939)
"I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy." Psalm 59:16
Published in GOD'S WAY FOR COUPLES: http://www.harrisonhouse.com/BookDetails.asp?ISBN=1593790147
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Debra - BEAUTIFUL!! It makes us all want to go to that very same beach and yet, the close relationship with God you described is available wherever we walk. BEAUTIFUL! - Thank you, Gary
Debra, You painted a beautiful picture of Him. blessings, Rita
Beautiful story...God Bless
This article is so beautiful, even more so when God's voice enters into your thoughts. Truly wonderful.
This is absolutely beautiful and I felt as if you were echoing my love for the beach. There's nothing like warm sand between your toes. The walks you have with your husband mirror the walks I have with my Lord in our quiet time together. Hand in hand we walk as I bask in his love. Very well written. For a short time, I was a silent spectator. (smile)
Exquisite! Nothing else I can say. With love, Deb
This is beautiful! Your words express a longing we all feel for the love of God. The paragraph where God's voice breaks through really meant alot to me. Thanks for sharing