Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reflections On An Island

Hey Friend,

Oh Antigua how I miss thee!  As my new husband and I walked our dogs in the single digit temp plus wind chill, I couldn't help but drift back to where I was just one week ago.  We were sitting on our lounge chairs nestled in the white sand beside the crystal clear teal blue waters of the ocean in Antigua.  The moderate 80 degree temperature, along with the soothing island breezes was the perfect respite after eight months of planning a wedding.

One guest at the wedding remarked that it was evident that God was/is at the center of our marriage.  I am so blessed to be equally yoked with a godly man who shares my beliefs.  The ceremony and reception really couldn't have gone more beautifully. Now here we were in this tropical jewel of God's holy creation.  Surely this was one place God smiled upon as He pronounced his creation "good"! 

Our very first day in Antigua a typical brief shower blew in, pushed the sunshine aside and sprinkled down drops of refreshment for the native lush flora and fauna.  In the islands, if it rains, just wait for a little while and it will pass.  Soon the sun began to shine once again through the rain and what did God paint across the sky, but a brilliant and bold complete double rainbow.  My heart lept inside my chest.  Surely this is how Noah must have felt - what a harbinger of God's faithfulness.  What a blessing with which to begin our marriage!

I quickly fell in love with the beautiful people of Antigua.  Their bright smiles and "no problem" attitude toward life were contagious.  Our taxi driver, J.J. summed it up well when he said, "If I am alive, it is a good day."  What an attitude of gratitude.  One day, driving into the port of St. John, one of those brief passing showers came through.  "Today is a good day, "  J.J. remarked.  During the non-rainy season, rain is a sign of a good day.  What a difference in perspective I thought to myself.  To us, rain was a damper on a good day; to the natives to the island, rain was symbolic of a good day.  Just a little heavenly attitude adjustment.

In addition to the native islanders we met some lovely people from all over the globe.  The U.K. and Canada were well represented.  I quickly adopted the phrase that I was "on holiday" instead of being on vacation.  Holidays are to be celebrated and being in this lush paradise that only God could have dreamt up was truly worth celebrating!

Another delightful pleasure was going "unplugged" for an entire week.  No television, no cell phones, no ipads or other technical gadgetry.  Instead we enjoyed the pleasure of conversation with each other and with others that we met.  I also basked in the luxury of actually reading a book while sipping on a pina colada poolside.  All things coconut are truly Heaven sent lol.  So were the papayas, mangos, passion fruits, and various assorted melons that we breakfasted upon each morning.  This java junkie also became a fan of the locally grown mountain coffee.

Outstanding were the sunsets over the ocean wherein God silhouetted the palm trees against the brilliant pinks and oranges of the clouds.  Several nights we dined watching the sun set, sipping a glass of wine and listening to the steel drum band or soothing island reggae music.  It was a rhythm that was easy to fall into.  There was no need for a watch...we were on island time and our only dispute was trying to agree on what day it was.  Ahh, pure paradise.

I've been snorkeling many times, but God had a lesson for me in this snorkeling experience.  We just so happened to pick one of the rougher days to go out, by boat, to the reef to snorkel.  The waters were white capped and very choppy.  Half of the would be snorkelers backed out due to the rough sees, but not this girl...I was going in. 

Above the water, the wind blew and the waves crashed and the boat rocked.  But, once I stuck my mask below the water, a great sense of calm came over me.  It was silent and peaceful here.  The neon and brightly colored fish swam calmly between and amongst the coral outcroppings.  Their color, beauty and diversity were amazing.  The fan coral waved gently, beckoning me to swim closer and get a better look.  Just as He is so many times, there was God - providing me with a peaceful calm amidst the swells of life.  All I had to do was trust Him and dive in.

Sadly, after a week in paradise graced with hummingbirds and hibiscus, we had to begin our long journey home - back to reality.  God had given us a mountaintop experience in order to help us venture back into the everyday world with a renewed awareness of his love and goodness.  I am so thankful to have been blessed with the opportunity to delight in this one small piece of God's glorious creation.  His creation is indeed good and so is God.  

Maybe you aren't in the Caribbean islands today, but God will show you a measure of His love and care for you if you are willing to look for it.  Will the rain, snow, sleet or ice dampen your day or will it help to make it a good day?
The choice is yours...wishing you a "no problem" kind of day!

In His love,