But thy eternal summer shall not fade."
This is my 90th blog - but who's counting! I believe I average about 1,000 words per blog so this means I've written some 90,000 words during the last two and a half years. And they've flowed so freely and have been such a joy. I thank the many who are reading them and developing an interest in the Bible.
During the summer, many of us look to escape our 'do this every day' life and seek out a new landscape and reprieve from routine. I recently spent a week with my husband on Coronado Island.
Coronado - a poem waiting to be written! As you drive across the graceful curve of the Coronado Bridge, which connects to San Diego, you are coming into an adventure. This lovely island - peninsula really - has so much to discover. You’ll enjoy the beautiful wide sandy beaches and interesting history. Take a walk and you’ll find charming homes surrounded by delightful English style gardens filled with blossoms drinking in the ocean's moisture. Their fragrance suspended as if in a cloud. And, as its centerpiece, the magnificent Hotel del Coronado built in 1888. This is truly a Victorian splendor, white sided and red roofed – a masterpiece of a century past.
On Flag Day, June 14th, American flags line the main street reminding us that this is a city of patriots. We rediscover the art of dining, a favorite pastime with tourists. All this, only one hour from where we live.
When we returned home, I realized that I had left my small pouch of my jewelry in the bedroom safe at the condo resort. If I put anything in a safe, I always use this combination - 3314. I took this from Exodus 33:14, a perfect 'traveling' verse. . .
"The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
This is exactly what we needed, God's Presence and a rest! I didn't worry about the pouch – nothing was in it of great monetary value. I kept in mind that God is in the business of 'restoration' and He would restore my jewelry. I called the condo resort. They had my jewels and would send them to me. Then, several days past and I didn't receive them - now I'm a little worried and began to focus more on what I may have lost than a faithful God. My anxiety increased, just slightly.
First, I thought of the little dark blue tennis - print draw-string pouch made for me by a fellow Special Olympic tennis coach who was so dear to me. I had traveled all over the world with this jewelry pouch tucked into my carry-on bag or purse. We'd been to places like Uganda, Africa where I'd taught at a Rafiki Girls Center, Belgium where we'd worked in a print shop, Sweden where I visited family, and South East Asia where I taught a Bible study on-board a Princess Cruise ship. That little pouch was a treasure!
And then, I thought about the jewelry contained in the pouch - at first thought, nothing of significant value - then I took a closer look.
My Grandma Ruby's gold wedding band, nearly 100 years old now. I wear it often and am reminded of my dear grandparents, Harry and Ruby, and how they met in a Lutheran Church class while young teens and became 'confirmed in the faith' together.
A mother-of-pearl cross purchased in Israel in 1999 while visiting Tiberius, now a resort town located on the west shore of Lake Galilee. As I remember, I paid less than a dollar for it, but it is precious to me. I purchased it in a Christian gift shop located above another store. I remember this small store, crowded with Christian tourists eager to take home a memento from the Holy Land. I also had another cross bought for me by my friend Kay. When I wear it, I'm reminded of her and that she too was blessed with the gift of 'being there' on the Sea of Galilee.
There was another small ring in the pouch, silver, heart-shaped and bought in an antique store in 1982 while visiting the home of Shakespeare, in Stratford-on-Avon, England. The ring is well worn, and I fantasize that maybe, just maybe, Ann Hathaway had worn it. I think I paid $12.00.
Two pair of pearl earrings were there - one from special friend Karen, a gift for my 50th birthday. The other pair belonged to a relative. Also, there was a pair of gold hoops that my husband purchased at a garage sale in San Jose, CA. He'd paid $2.00 for a whole sack of costume jewelry and there among the fake stuff were these lovely real gold earrings. The sparkling crystal Swarovski earrings I had bought while on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest were in that pouch. My cousin Gerry and his wife Nancy were with us and good memories of that time surface when I put them on. We cruised through Germany on a river boat, and then boarded a student bus to Prague where we have family living. I had my wallet stolen from my purse on the Charles Bridge. Not everything is perfect when you venture out in the world.
Last - a silver bracelet bought for $5.00 in Mexico while on a trip to Puerto Penesco with friends, Karen and Dean. This bracelet has seven links. In Scripture, the number seven means complete. Carved on the links -Family, Hope, Trust, Joy, Truth, Charity and Love. I relate this to Galatians 5:22 which lists the 'fruit of the spirit' – God’s gifts to the believer through the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why would anyone not want to have these gifts?
As the Lord withheld, for several days, the return of my jewels, I began to reflect on how much I really wanted to redeem these treasures and trusted they'd be restored to me. I also came to the conclusion that their true value was in the memories, not the item itself. They are a part of my life, my history, people I cherish, places I've been, adventures the Lord has allowed me to have. . .all of it restored the day I opened the envelope sent by the hotel containing my treasures.
The Bible is full of stories of restoration. God restores health, a crippled man got up and walked, a blind man could see! He restores our faith - and most important Jesus has restored our relationship with God, Romans 10:4.
Psalm 126:3 "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
Thank you Lord for restoring my treasure of memories bound up in that little bag of jewelry. You are an awesome God!