Standing here, this morning, in front of the church I grew up in, I think back to when it all began. It was a Tuesday. I had just got home from work. My day had been hectic and I needed to unwind. I decided to get some air by taking a walk along the beach. Little did I know, at the time, how that decision would change my life forever.
I had been walking for a few minutes when I noticed something near the edge of the water. The sun was setting and in the dusk of the evening, I was unable to make it out, this newly sighted object of curiosity.
It did not look like any kind of driftwood I have found in the past. Curiously, yet cautiously, I moved closer to the object, which was now lying at the edge of the water. Had it moved, or had the water finally delivered it to shore?
Standing over this visitor from the sea, I sensed it offered no threat. With that settled, my curiosity took over and I stooped to pick the object up. It felt cool and wet in my hands and had a smooth texture. It was transparent, reveling what looked like a small white object inside. I stood there, wondering.
When I got back to the beach house, I placed the newfound treasure on the table. I wondered where it came from and who put it in the water. I was curious to open it, yet apprehensive.
My curiosity was at a breaking point by Sunday. I needed to find out more about this “lost and found” houseguest on my table. How long had it been in the water? Why was I the one to find it?
That strip of beach was far from remote. Many walked the beach, especially in the early evening. However, on that particular evening, now that I think back, I was the only one.
There I was, holding this treasure and wondering what the small, white object inside was. I had decided to find out when the phone rang. Setting it down on the table, I went to answer the phone.
The call was from Father Joseph, one of the priests at the church I grew up in, but I was far from a regular these days. Father said he was calling to invite me to attend mass Sunday. He was celebrating a special mass for my mother who had passed away about a year ago. I thanked him for calling and told him that I would try to attend.
As I hung up the phone, I glanced at the clock. It was almost midnight. I wondered why Father Joseph had called so late. Who knows; maybe he lost track of the time too. It was late and I had to be on the job early the next morning, so my curiosity about my find was going to have to wait.
The next two days were a blur. Work was intense and I did not have a moment for myself. It was Tuesday evening before my thoughts returned to the treasure. I really needed to see what was inside.
I took the cap off the bottle and a small rolled up piece of paper dropped out into my hands. Finally, I would see what mystery this treasure held. I unrolled the paper and found a note scribbled on the inside. I could hardly see to read the note for the tears in my eyes. I was lost in the moment. It was a verse from the Bible; one my mother used to talk to me about; it was her favorite.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
A walk on the beach, a bottle washed ashore and a haunting scripture from the past; I could hear my mother’s voice, once again, asking me to accept the gift God has for me.
I made my peace with God that night. This morning, as I walk into the church of my childhood, I know my mother is smiling.
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