A friend of mine gave me something very special a couple of days ago. And, except for using up a few minutes of her cell phone time, it did not cost her a thing. Yet, to me, the gift was priceless.
“Listen,” the voice on the other end said when I picked up the receiver of the ringing telephone.
Even though she had not identified herself, I immediately recognized the voice as belonging to a friend and former co-worker. We had not seen one another in some months.
For a few seconds, there was silence on the telephone, and I wondered briefly if we had been disconnected. Then I heard it a faint but familiar sound. It was the unmistakable pounding of the surf hitting a shoreline.
I listened entranced. I love the ocean. I always have, and I cannot really say why because I am definitely not a sailor. I get seasick just thinking about boats, and the few times I have ventured out on the water have proven to be disastrous.
However, I have always had a passion about the beach, where I would sit contently in the warm sand, watch the waves lap the shore and listen to the ocean. It has a calming effect on me that nothing else can accomplish.
It has been some years since my family has made a trip to the beach, and I was acutely aware of just how much I missed those excursions when I heard the sound of the surf coming through that telephone.
She came back on the line.
“Know what that is?” she asked.
“Where are you?” I replied.
Turns out she was in Florida on business and before heading back home, she had gone down to the beach to take some pictures.
“I thought of you,” she said. “I know how much you have always loved the beach and ocean, and I wanted to share it with you.”
She held the phone toward the water again, and I closed my eyes and thought back to days when my children were youngsters and scampering across the hot sand of the Corpus Christi beach on a bright summer day; the afternoon my husband was standing knee-deep in the Gulf of Mexico off Port Aransas and a hammerhead shark ate one of his surf shoes, and the time the seagulls my youngest son had been feeding suddenly flew up and engulfed him in a giant cloud of feathers and beaks.
We chatted briefly for a few more minutes, and then she said she had to catch the plane back home.
“Thanks for the mini-vacation,” I told her.
Long after we had hung up, the sound of the waves was still lingering in my ear.
“What a nice gift,” I thought. And suddenly a vision of Christ on the cross flashed across my mind, and without hesitation, I understood the reason for the image.
Jesus has given us the ultimate gift, and like my friend, He has done it because He was thinking of you and of me.
He, too, has asked us to listen.
“I am come,” He has said, “That you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.
What a precious gift. There is none more valuable in this life because His gift IS life.
(From our archives 12/9/2)
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