It was a day in early autumn, and I found myself walking the familiar road that crept along the shoreline of the lake. I’d come to our lake house for a personal retreat while my husband was out of town, and discovered nothing less than the refreshment of solitude amidst the peaceful lapping of the waves against the seawall.
The wild swan babies of early summer had grown from gray, ugly ducklings into sleek, fat, pearly-white young adults – and I watched them paddle along effortlessly in the same direction as I walked south with the afternoon sun beating across the lake from the west. They belonged, and I belonged. The same sun warmed us, the same hope for similar tomorrows rested on our shoulders.
And yet I felt a strange uncertainty grasping and clutching me from within. So many things were defined by empty, gaping, unknown realities at the moment. Our finances. Our health. Our church. Our future. The only certainty was God Himself…and our solid faith in Him.
As I trudged along, breathing in the crispness of the season, I talked to God about this.
“I don’t expect perfect circumstances, you know. I just need…something to settle me down.”
“You have Me.”
“I’m not trying to belittle that, Lord, but it’s just that…I’ve never had a mentor. I think I need one. Someone who has been in this spot, and can understand.”
The wind whipped the majestic oaks, sending leaves flying in every direction. They whirled around my feet like dancing elves on vacation, free at last from their lofty imprisonment.
“Oh, if only I might feel such confidence and delight in my own freedom,” I sighed. Somehow the weight of all those unknowns burdened my soul.
I heard a car approaching from behind, an uncommon occurrence on this dead-end road, and stepped to the side for it to pass. But, instead, it slowed to a stop beside me. A couple, neighborly acquaintances, smiled their greeting. I barely knew these folks. What did they want?
“Just thought we’d stop and see how you’re doing…knew the hubby had some pretty serious health issues.”
I stared out over the field of diamonds sparkling on the water, grasping for something, anything, to compose myself.
“He’s….okay…thanks for asking.” Tears welled up faster than I could pinch them off.
“Awwww, let me pull the car over. C’mere. Tell us about it.”
I wasn’t sure what to think. Spill my heart out to this old German couple? And yet, there was softness in their eyes that I couldn’t mistrust. I remembered my earlier plea to God – for something to “settle me down.” The swans swam on without me, continuing their journey along the shore. For now, I was planted in this vulnerable spot.
“His doctor says…the prognosis is awful,” I choked out the truth.
“Let’s pray together, shall we?”
I couldn’t believe it. No one in our church had offered to pray with me about this. No one in my circle of friends had offered, either. The lake was always been my place of healing…but this? As God was called to the scene, my knees buckled, my heart raced.
“……and so Lord, we commit this situation into Your loving hands, and trust You implicitly.”
It all happened so unexpectedly! Had Tinkerbelle’s pixie dust swept over my heart and soul to quiet my pounding heart, or had God actually reached down from heaven?
“Let’s stay in touch about this. I really want to walk this mile with you.”
Almost in spite of myself, I looked deeply into the feminine eyes peeking from the passenger side of the car. They seemed deep, warm, inviting, Real. Oh my, it was the Velveteen Rabbit kind of Real for sure!
“Velda, will you be my mentor?” I asked.
“Of course, honey! Let’s get started tomorrow – tea at my house, around 2:00?”
The lake had never been more beautiful as their car drove away. I had just tasted living water.