8.22.2011

Panama City Beach Part 3: Then and Now

Another "on-location" post that is not really on-location. Writing now, saving draft, posting later.

blogpic2 This morning, I woke up at the undesirable hour of 5:30. I figured I would make the best of it. Leaving my sleeping family in the condo, I slipped out for a walk on the beach with a destination in mind.

Some time ago, (a pretty good while ago), I was a teenager and in a small youth group that averaged about 10 or 15 kids if we were lucky. Every summer, we came here to Panama City for the newly-organized Big Stuf youth camps, which are still going strong. When I was 14, the camp was held at what is now the Boardwalk Beach Resort. My best friend's parents, the ones willing to drive a van load of kids to the beach for a week, God bless them, were the volunteer youth leaders. (Hi, Jim and Jeanne!)

It was at those camps, back when I sported polka-dot shorts, matching socks, and long, spiral-permed hair, that I tasted some independence, bonded with my friends, sang goofy songs, and thought a lot about God. I remember sitting out on that beach and dreaming about the future.

Ironically enough, here I am, years later, and the condo we are in this year happens to be right next to the Boardwalk Beach Resort. That place was my destination this morning.

I made my way down the almost-deserted beach before the sun made its way over the high-rises to my left. It was a beautiful, hazy morning...soft pink sky, gentle ocean, comfortable temperature. Hours from now, this same stretch would be covered up with cooler-toting humanity and their umbrellas. But for now, it was all cool quietness and peace. blogpic3 sleeping fam

When I reached the Boardwalk resort, I sat on one of the empty wooden rental loungers and pictured myself sitting there as a skinny little girl with big dreams. And then I turned and looked back down the beach to my right at the green-roofed condo where my family was still slumbering up on the 9th floor. How could that kid have known that part of my future would one day lie sleeping in that green-roofed condo next door...a structure that was probably there, even back then?

God has been faithful through all these years, and He continues to be faithful, even through all that situational vertigo I posted about.

This is the song that came to me on the beach today, by Caedmon's Call:

O Lord, your love is new with every morning

Your faithfulness gets me through the night

You bid me come

You know that I am weary

Your yoke is easy, your burden is light.

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