She’d come in three times already with updates and a sense of true wonder, as she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The first description provided a clue. She said she’d seen a big burly guy walking along holding the hands of his tiny daughter, who appeared not to be even two years old, walking along the mostly deserted beach. It was still so early in the morning that most tourists had not yet found their way down. I was up at this hour, working on a rush project on my so-called vacation, without even my first cup of coffee nearby.
The first thing Patti noticed was how big and strong the man was. He wore a sleeveless t-shirt and dew rag around his head. She thought he looked more like an offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears than a dad. Her second report noted she understood once again how God was at work in her life, as well as that of the family below her.
As the daughter had been previously been exploring the beach, she was tentative, amazed and awed by the waves, but a little fearful. The dad walked behind her, closely, without her even noticing his shadow. Once a wave came along the far part of the shore, gentle to an adult, it was overpowering to the child, who was navigating the path for the first time. The third report was even more powerful.
In an instant, the youngster had been knocked over by the gentle wave, but before you could count to “3,” her father had scooped her up and restored her to her previous balance, and they continued along their path together. No tears, just restored confidence. The next time another big wave came along, the father had both of his daughter’s hands in his, and he lifted her feet high above the waves as they came crashing into shore.
The delight on the child’s face was equaled only by her trust that her dad had her safely in his grasp and sight. Patti returned inside of the condo. ”I’ve just seen the Father at work, this is exactly what God does,” as she described the next leg of the child’s journey. Finally, I grabbed my camera and went outside to see what she was talking about. And it was at that point that I was truly moved. It was a living picture of the parable about “one set of footprints in the sand.”
Unhurried, the father walked up and down the same stretch of beach, as the sounds of the waves gently lulled his daughter to sleep. After the fourth lap of the journey, they settled atop a chaise lounge under the shade of a palapa, still alone, without disturbing the daughter’s slumber. I, too, was watching...my friend Patti grew more amazed with each vista of what she was able to see, being played out through the trust, love, and gentleness of a daughter resting in the arms of a loving father.
The fifth and final report was another special scene….the child’s mother had awakened from a precious few moments’ nap inside their condo and joined her family under the palapa on the lounge chair adjacent to her husband. With his left hand securing his daughter atop his broad chest, he gently reached out for his wife’s left hand with his right hand.
~~ June, 2011