While the sun lingers all day long in the sky, and most of the time I barely realize it's moving, I am keenly aware of it's movement when it steadily retreats into the horizon. And tonight I am asking God for something beautiful to spread out before us despite the heavy clouds hanging in the sky. I'm briefly tempted to abandon the beach and just head home because it's unlikely that we'll catch much of a sunset with all the clouds covering the sky and it's even more unlikely that we'll get a glimpse of the dolphins I've been hoping to see. I've loved dolphins since we first started visiting my grandparents in Southwest Florida, and God has spoken love to me through them. I promise our soon-to-be-adopted teen daughter, who shares my love for these animals, I will report any sightings.
I lean into John just before we are ready to resign from the beach, and instead I find myself breathing a timid prayer.
"God, something beautiful please."
The sun almost immediately slips out from behind the clouds and spreads into red, pink, orange with hints of purple.
Moved by the lovely in front of us and the graciousness of a God who answers prayers, I ask, "Oh, and dolphins, too, please!"
I can't stop the prayers from tumbling out of my lips as the sun descends and continues to set the sky bright acolor.
"Thank you for this beauty, God." I say, "Thank you for the lovely you paint across the sky. Lord, you make beautiful things. God, please, bring our girls home to us. Bring us word of movement, our referral. Please."
Where I end John begins and we are praying honest heart cries as the sunset blazes in beauty before us.
As we continue to pray, I see movement in water before us, and not one, not two, not three, but five fins take turns jutting out of the water. It looks like maybe it's feeding time and the dolphins have found a buffet just several yards away.
I breathe out gratitude and we watch them dance in the waters as the last of the sun disappears, leaving a glow in the twilight of sky and on the water.
I find myself thankful for the burst of patience and persistence gifted to us as we stood on the beach just moments before. And I am reminded of words I read earlier that day in two different places:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18
When I wait you strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14We have not been forgotten in our waiting. Our tears, our prayers, our pleas -- they have been heard.
Strength has been gifted in the wait. Blessing will grow in the wait. Beauty has come and will spread into more
like colors at sunset across the sky
like dolphins remembered in their need for a nightly feast
like prayers answered as two pilgrims in the journey stand at the edge of where water meets a slice of sandy beach, watching shadows of the sun emerge from behind thick clouds
and sink closer and closer to the tips of palm trees and the blues of ocean setting the whole beautiful thing on fire with color.