I have no pictures because the humidity is like 1,096% and my camera lens fogged up the second we arrived. So I'm going to have to use my words.
There are no words.
This place is Paradise.
Really, it is.
(Ask Rose, who's not here, but who also has a place in this area.)
I'm not making this up.
I'm in a resort area called Paradise. And whoa man.
First of all, these accommodations: Crazy, wild, huge, amazing and penthouse-y with decks on three sides with a view of the ocean, the beaches, the resort pools and THE HEAVENS.
Second of all, the view: We are 8 stories up, on the beach, with nothing obstructing our sight lines. We can see as far west as a person can see. And tonight? After the sun set? We saw a show. A lightning show.
Third of all, the lightning: OH. OH. OH. I am 52 years old and I have NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS. Three to four hours of non-stop lightning. It was like a strobe light, flashing to the beat in a nightclubs. It was like the grand finale of an expensive firewords display. It was like a kid, playing with the light switch, off n on, off n on, off n on, over and over again. It went on and on and on, and I felt like clapping and screaming in appreciation because it was Just. That. Good.
Fourth of all, the humidity: Yeah, so, this is a first for me. Wet air. SOAKING WET AIR. My bangs? Are a fricken mess. I've unloaded half a container of baby powder on my scalp to soak up all the moisture but now I have a head covered in damp powder. This is probably not my best look. So there will be no photos. I am sticky. All over. Since the second I stepped off the plane. Interesting. And not entirely comfortable.
Fifth of all, the conversations: (Quite possibly my very favorist part of any social encounter.) It started on the plane when I ended up seated next to a married couple from Salmon Arm. (I was on the aisle, she was in the middle.) We talked about TED talks, being introverts, the book Quiet, the ages of our kids, (our kids are the same age), how spontaneous this trip was for me. AND FOR THEM. (Seems we all bought tickets on the same day last week.) And she asked me where I worked;
"Focus on the Family."
"You're real?!" And she reached out and squeezed my arm. "We LOVE Focus on the Family! But always think of it as something far away and not, like, approachable, or near..."
"Haha. Yup, we're real. And we're in Langley. Whit's in Colorado though."
"WOW. Focus on the Family! What do you do there?"
"Uh, mostly make To Do lists and make sure stuff gets checked off those lists. I'm a list-maker at heart so it's a good fit for me."
"Do you have to be a Christian to work there?"
"I thought so, so, you're a Christian?"
"SO ARE WE!"
We talked for a few more minutes, and then each turned slightly in our seats to settle in a read our books.
"I'm reading, "Still Alice," she says, "What've you got?"
"Oh, I just picked this up at the airport. It's an author that my son likes so I thought I'd just take a chance and read it. It was a recommended title at the kiosk, but it's a bit of a gamble..."
She takes it from my hands and starts to read the back.
Suddenly I am overcome with an unsettled feeling ... "Uh, I didn't even read the back - I'm not sure what it's about." (It's a writer Clint likes, so it could be questionable/not appropriate for Christian moms to be reading. What do I know?)
As she continues to read the back, I say, "Don't judge Focus based on my reading material. It's probably not sanctioned by them. In fact, now I'm just embarrassed. Here, give me that."
I try to retrieve my book but she's got a death grip on it.
"No, no, it ... looks... interesting ... although..."
I get it back and start to read the back. No swear words. No talk of incest or sacrificial ceremonies. No affairs. Nothing that sets off too many alarms. But still.
She's a lovely woman who goes to her church's Women Ministry events and is part of a Beth Moore bible study. She's been a stay-at-home mom since her first child was born, and has not gone back to work. She is trim, does pilates and swims and brought fresh fruit and shared her plums and sat sidesways so she could put her feet on her husband's lap.
And I sat beside her, very aware that I was repping Focus. All her conceptions about the organization are going to be influenced by what she saw in me. It was a weird feeling. I'm nobody there. Just the chick who makes lists. But I'm the one she's sitting beside. I'm it. And I could not read that book in front of her.
So once she started reading, I tilted my head back and fell asleep.
We'll be flying home together on the same flight, so I'll keep my eye open for her. I will have The Language of Flowers out as my reading material. Or maybe One Thousand Gifts. That'd look good.
And from there? It's just been a gluttony of good talk.
I love hearing people's stories. We sat on the deck, and while God dazzled us with his pyrotechnics we talked about where we're at, how we got here, and where we saw God's hand in it along the way.
I? Am a blessed woman.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. This place, these people. Our God.
2. Sunsets, lightning shows, thunder storms.
3. Private bedrooms and bathrooms.