Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"The Dove"

One of my Dad's most inspiring sea stories as a boat captain took place on the Pamlico Sound near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, after his father, my Grandaddy Gray, had passed from this life to the next.

Dad was feeling sad as he fished the waters without his father. As he was on the deck of his boat alone one day, he began to pray for The Lord to touch his heart with His Holy Presence. 

Suddenly, on the stern of his fishing boat "the dove" landed. It was unusual for a dove to be so far from the shore. Dad whispered to The Lord: "I really would like to hold 'the dove' in my hands." As he moved closer, "the dove" offered no resistance and Dad picked up the bird and held it close to his heart. After a while, Dad released his new feathered friend. "The dove" soared into the skies above the waves, circled Dad's boat three times and disappeared in the distance.

Last week before I left my home in Virginia to come and be a son to my precious Dad as he is in the hospital, I went into my garage where I go often these days to chop, whittle and carve primitive-style birds from wood. I thought I was carving a Sanderling shore bird, but the shape wasn't looking that way. I bowed my head over my chopping block and said: "Lord, help me to make the right piece out of this 'stubborn' block of wood." A few minutes later, I could see that the wood wanted to be a dove.

I spent the rest of the night completing my simple carving. I knew it was for Dad. I painted it and mounted it on a piece of driftwood and carefully packed it in my vehicle. 

When I finally presented it to Dad at his bedside, it touched his heart and the story of "the dove" was relived by us all.

Throughout Dad's eleven months of cancer, he has so often spoken about the nearness of the precious Holy Spirit. Of course you knew that was the real reason he wanted to hold "the dove" in the first place. 

The Holy Spirit comforted my Dad years ago after his father passed and the Holy Spirit comforts him and his family still. 


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