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Tides of Life

He has made everything appropriate in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11a NASB

We stayed for a week on Whidbey Island, beach-combing, building water systems in the sand, kayaking, bobbing on the ripples and orienting our lives to the ebb and flow of the tides. I love to watch the changing shoreline – as the tide recedes, the teeming life of shellfish and grasses is slowly revealed; as the tide returns, a curtain is drawn across the sand until all is hidden by roiling sea, lapping at the sea wall.

The trip had been long planned with our daughter’s family. At the last moment our son and his family elected to join us. The only caveat was that they would need to leave for the East Coast early on Friday to make it home for the start of Sabbath at sundown. I was thrilled. Having my two children together in one place is a supreme joy.

There was the matter of a car for our son’s family of four. Do we have suitable car-seats? Who would pick them up at the airport? Which car would they borrow? And how would they handle the car dropped at the airport on Friday?

Early on I arrived at the perfect plan. “I’ll drive them to the airport. Then they don’t have to worry about parking and they’ll have an extra half hour, which means a lot at 4:30am.” I hoped that my morning persona would carry me through the 3-hour expedition and I would make good use of the time on the road home with grateful (or tearful) reflection.

But Kent offered to make the trip even though early morning is not his favorite time of day. I was on the fence. I could say that the optimal choice of who should drive was hidden from me. I wasn't at peace about either option, and logic wasn't helping.

I asked the Lord, “What do You want?” An answer to that question can arrive in many ways. This time, it felt like it emerged in a watery way - as the beach is gently revealed by the ebbing tide, lapping now more, now less, so slowly receding that you're surprised when you look back and see it. After waiting quietly for the Lord's response, I was surprised by a similarly gentle awareness of peace with these words: Let him drive.

On Friday, the baby and the three-year old were awakened at the very last moment, with the car packed and ready. We hugged and said our goodbyes. I had no desire to go back to bed. I sat in a chair by the window watching the slow changes in the eastern sky from black to blue to bright pinks, oranges and golds illuminating clouds and sea, and reflected.

I felt gratitude for the time we had together, and that God had given me the chance to raise children, and now to see my children raising their own children. In the baby is hidden the toddler, the teen, the adult to come. Raising children is a slow process designed by God to gently reveal the person. When we care for babies, for toddlers, for children growing up, we act as His helpers.

I felt gratitude that God is willing to respond to our questions, like - who should drive to the airport? The airport drive may seem trivial. But, it's a sign of God's willingness to be involved in our most common, daily experiences. Beyond that, God has an immense world of hidden things about Himself and His creation that He's eager to reveal in response to our seeking, waiting and watching.

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