The name that dangled from the well-weathered iron post, and swung to the rhythm of ocean breezes, dripped with irony. Lanny slowly nodded his head, and his lips grimaced in affirmation.
“Yep, that's me, that's me.”
Large and looming against the vast ocean that bordered it, Dun Roamin looked like everything Lanny had hoped for. The fourteen room, 18th Century Victorian that held tightly to the edge of the shore looked as if it, too, had survived many a storm.
Ivy had made its slow, but steady journey up towards the gables. And the large wraparound porch, like the rest of the house, once white, was a testimony to years of fierce, relentless, ocean swept tempests. The color reminded him of a mixture of old lace and French ice cream.
Lanny paused just beyond the iron rusted gate, but his eyes continue to roam around the meticulously, manicured front yard. Several yards beyond the gate, his gaze stopped at a rambling rose laced arbor. Beyond the opening, he could see a tall cross, sculptured in stone. At least five feet tall, he calculated.
With barely a whisper, Lanny spoke to the cross.
“So, you're here, too. Even in this place that seems at the end of nowhere, I can't get away from you. But that's why I'm here.”
The sound of a slamming door penetrated the stillness, and brought a halt to his thoughts.
“Why, you must be Lanny Harper. Welcome to Dun Roamin, I'm glad you made it. Supper is just about ready, and I'm sure you must be hungry after such a long flight. I'll take you to your room, so you can freshen up a bit. I know you're going to love the rest of the residents here. You'll feel right at home. And oh, by the way, my name is Mrs Clapper. I run the place.
The monologue ended and Lanny resisted the urge to grab his bags and back out of the rusted iron gate. He forced his arm towards Mrs. Clapper's outstretched hand, and tried not to noticed how strongly she gripped his.
He had not come from half a world away to find friends. Suddenly, the peace that he felt as his eyes held onto the cross took a turn towards anxiety. Fortune had impoverished his soul. If he had need of friendship, this is the last place he would have chosen.
If friends could have given him what he longed for, he would have stayed in their world where fame, friends, and fortune left his soul bankrupt and his life a series of tangled strands. But time preserves wisdom, and his mother's words, spoken several years after he left college, had recently made his heart their home.
“You can run from God, but you can never hide from Him."
Here, in this place, He had hoped to stopped running. But perhaps, this was not the solitary place he was looking for to start over again.
The most desperate groans are often silent. If not here, then WHERE?
“Here we are,” Mrs Clapper began again. “Can I call you Lanny? Make yourself at home.” With a quick smile and a faster turn, she opened the door and disappeared into the shadows of the vintage, but elegantly decorated hallway.
Lanny plopped down on a large queen-sized bed, and closed his eyes. He was here now, might as well make the most of it. Moving towards the window, the view of the ocean held him there.
Yes, he was here now, and in this place, he could either sink or swim. At least he had a private bathroom..
Supper ended with prayer, and Lanny engaged the other guests with the usual pleasantry, while trying not to let on how much he wanted o be alone.
Back in his room, the moonlight cast a shadow on the far left wall. Why hadn't he noticed it before? Inside a set of three gold plated frames, and printed on parchment that time had discolored were words that cradled the longing of his soul.
“For I know the thoughts I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11
“Then you will call upon Me, and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12).
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart”(Jeremiah 29:13).
Lanny dropped to his knees. He HAD come to the right place after all. Dun Roamin' was where he belonged.
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