Our season of exhaling happened on an "unnamed" island :) of the Outer Banks that one side of my father's family still calls "home".
While I cannot share every moment of my week, something happened yesterday that was certainly a God-given encounter and I want to tell you about it.
As we returned from the beach, I saw a seven-year-old local boy sitting under some shade trees alongside the road in the village. He was selling mostly natural items he had collected from the seaside. His inventory included unique seashells and pieces of driftwood ranging from small to very large. He even had a few jars of homemade fig preserves.
I pulled my vehicle off the road, and greeted the young lad. I told him I loved to collect driftwood as well, and I wanted to help his business. So I selected a medium size piece of driftwood and paid the $5 he was asking for it. Then I saw his great-grandparents sitting in their rocking chairs on their screened-in porch just behind his selling location. I casually approached the older couple and asked if they had lived on the island all of their lives. They said "yes". I then told them about my own island heritage. They remembered my grandmother and her family. The great-grandmother then said, "Do you know who that young boy is that you just purchased the driftwood from?" Somehow in that moment I knew who he must be. I was right. He was the youngest child in my father's extended family now living on the island. I had met him when he was two years old, but had not seen him since. I have had frequent encounters with his dad, but had not since seen the lad.
I then went back to the young boy and we had a great, kinship kind of a conversation. I am not sure who was more excited that we were kin, me or him? I could tell he was anticipating telling his dad, my cousin, that his own relative had been his best customer of the day. Maybe his only customer. It was a deep moment in my soul.
Indeed, something about that spontaneous roadside stop started what I believe to be a healing in a gaping-hole in my own heart. I had stopped to mostly encourage a little "unknown-to-me" boy, but I was the one really encouraged the most in the end.
Healing? Yes, this is the second Father's Day that my dad has been in Heaven. My heart still hurts. Nevertheless, while I miss his presence, in his absence it is refreshing to know that our family tree is still growing. Yes, it's wonderful to know that our island roots still remain.
My prayer today is that future generations will be told about our Good, Good Father God. Happy Father's Day to Him and to my dad who is with Him. And to you, too.
(Click below for full-frame image of the seven-year-old lad that's related to me and my dad. And that's my driftwood he's holding. Island roots, for sure! :)