Walking Through Time
July 16, 2016
Southern Torch (3842 articles)
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Walking Through Time

Dr. John E. Morgan, Pastor of Collinsville Baptist Church

Dr. John E. Morgan, Pastor of Collinsville Baptist Church

By Dr. John E. Morgan

Pastor–Collinsville Baptist Church

Three years ago my family was on Anna Maria Island on the Gulf below Saint Petersburg.  Gloria and I have seen our family grow to sixteen.  Every other year we have go to the beach together for a week.  This was the first time for all of them on Anna Maria.  But not for me.

Family vacations.  For about twelve years of my childhood, my family went for two weeks every summer to Anna Maria.  Two weeks.  Do you remember two week vacations?  Most families work to find a long weekend these days.

My parents worked hard and saved all year to get us to the beach.  They sacrificed for our family of six to be able go.  It was worth it to them.

We would rent a little cottage right by the beach.  Usually other family and friends also came.  Today kids would think it was awful.  No television that I remember.  No air conditioning.  Almost all the meals cooked in our kitchen.  I slept on a war surplus cot on the screened-in porch.  Ocean breeze and the sound of the waves to lull me to sleep.  I loved it.  All of us loved it.

Every day was full.  Get up.  Eat breakfast.  Go to the beach.  Come in.  Eat lunch.  Play games.  Go to the beach.  Come in.  Eat supper.  Play games.  Repeat.  Sometimes a drive in movie.  A museum.  But mostly it was the beach.  And family.  For two weeks.

Our four boys had heard the stories.  So they chose Anna Maria for our family vacation. They were anxious to see me revisit my youth.   But the island has changed dramatically.  Lots of development.  And modern comforts.  I think that they thought I was disappointed with Anna Maria.  So I told them this story from my childhood.

One morning I woke up as daddy was going for a walk on the beach before breakfast.  I rolled off the cot to go with him.  Daddy worked really hard and really long hours.  Time with him was limited.  But not at the beach.

As we neared the end of a nice long walk, there was a couple coming toward us.  Suddenly my daddy yelled, “Big Bear”.  He ran at the other man and they hugged.  And began to cry.  I was shocked.  My big strong Marine dad was crying.  He never cried.

It turns out that the man had shared a foxhole with daddy in the Pacific as Japanese soldiers fired at them.  They had experienced things that I will never understand.  And the surprise meeting on the beach after fifteen years let all of those emotions bubble up again.

“This is my boy,” Daddy said as he introduced me.  The man shook my hand like an old friend.  Our families would get together a couple of times during the week.

But what I remember was my daddy crying.  And hugging his fellow Marine.  It opened a window for me into who my daddy was.  I never saw him the same again.  It made me love him even more.

That’s the story I told my children three years ago.  I was crying at the memory.  Then I told them.  “I didn’t come here to go to a certain building or restaurant.  I came to be with you.  My family.  I hope I learn something new about every one of you.  And that you will learn something about me.  That’s what I want on this vacation.  And that’s what we did on this same island all those years ago.  My dad.  My mom.  My sisters. My grandmother.”

Family matters.  Love matters.  Memories matter.  Even if you have to leave town to make them.

And, by the way.  God wants to spend some time with you, too.  He loves you.  And has time for you.  Is waiting on you.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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