This has been a summer of “going back”. I have been so fortunate to be able to revisit some of the places where Mike and I made some good memories. While it was hard at times, I now have new good memories with family that have been added.
Mike and I had the good fortune to be able to go to Bermuda a couple of years ago. And I had the opportunity to go back again this August. I had so many mixed emotions going into this trip. One thing that became so evident was just how much I missed Mike during those in between times – the times when you are getting ready to go to dinner or you are just coming back from the beach…those mornings having tea and getting ready for a new day. It’s those times that the reality of his absence really hit home. But traveling with five young adults (and two other “older” ones) kept things interesting and so very entertaining. It was a lot of fun to be with them and soak up some of their energy.
There was great talk about going on jet skis. I always wanted to do that but since I got seasick snorkeling one time, I had my doubts about how fun it might be. On the day we planned to go, the sky was stormy and the rains came in.
From what everyone said, it is down right miserable to go jet skiing in the rain; painful is one word they used to describe it. I couldn’t imagine being seasick and pelted with rain; it didn’t sound that appealing to me. But the under-22 crowd out voted the less adventurous adults and so we strapped on our life jackets, jumped on the jet skis, had a quick tutorial, and started out of the harbor. Nine of us in a line, one behind the other, going about 2 mph. I thought, “I can handle this; the water is not too rough and there is a lot to look at.” It was all very pleasant.
I heard a dog barking loudly. I glanced over to the shore and saw a white lab barking at us. He was on a dock with a boat that was named “New Beginnings”. I thought that was appropriate. In my heart, I thanked him for drawing my attention to that boat and made a mental note of that moment for later. We continued puttering slowly out of the harbor, went under the world’s tiniest drawbridge, and then hit open water. There was no threat of rain in the direction we were heading. I saw the guide take off. And then one by one the under 22 crowd followed. I watched their skis surge and skim over the water. I gave mine some gas. A wave from one of those 20 somethings smacked into my ski and almost knocked me off. I gave it a little more gas. I wasn’t sure what to do with all the wakes and so I bumped along and hung on for dear life. Eventually we got out to a ship wreck where we stopped to feed the fish. They were pretty hungry. And aggressive. I decided not to go for a swim like some of the others.
We were on our way again. The sun was shining. The water was smooth, unlike the choppiness of before. The guide took off. I decided to do the same. And so I took a risk. I gave it the full throttle. I almost went over backwards, but I held on. I felt like I was flying over the turquoise water. I started to relax and enjoy the feeling of the power of the jet ski. For that short period of time, I felt free. Free of the burden of grief. Free to laugh and yell and shake off the heaviness of the previous year. I soaked in the beauty of the island, the water, the birds, the warmth of the sun. I felt joy. It was a wonderful feeling. A wonderful gift.
What I thought would be an hour of rain pelted seasickness turned into a memory I will cherish forever; a “New Beginning” of sorts. I had accomplished the goals for the summer. I made new memories. Not so I could replace the old ones. But rather, so I could layer them upon the precious ones I have with Mike. I could feel him smiling down on me. I’m sure he would have been impressed! And surprised. And so I move ahead. Moment by moment. Taking new risks. Trying new things. And always, desiring to live out my days…full throttle.
Jeremiah 31:25 (NLT)
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”