Reba and I had a fantastic Father’s Day. On the spur of the moment we decided to go to Block Island, Rhode Island on the day itself and spend the night at the Manisses Inn. We drove 2 and ½ hours to Point Judith Rhode Island and took the ferry across to Block Island, a 55-minute trip. Of course, we barely made the ferry. It seems no matter how well we plan, we are always rushing places. Which reminds me of my book. The hero, Gregory, really falls in love with the Amish way of life and one of the things he loves about it is the slower pace of life and the sense that it doesn’t seem so man things have to be done “on time.” As with Reba, it just goes to show how easily one can lose that worldview when you “leave the farm” and take up a non-traditional way of life—just as Rebecca contemplates doing in my novel. That’s why I can’t wait to get back for our next visit to the farm in Lancaster County.
But, as you can see in this picture of Point Judith harbor, coastal New England isn’t a bad substitute for beautiful Lancaster.
The first thing we did after we checked in was to go to this beautiful church that sits on top of the hill near our inn. We were a little late and the Reverend Steve Holloway had already begun his sermon. It was a wonderful sermon entitled “Who’s Missing in this Picture?” The “person” missing is the Holy Spirit. Steve talked about how most of us think of the heavenly hierarchy as God on top and Jesus underneath and the two of them somehow connected. Christians worship the Trinity, yet the Holy Ghost is often missing from our thoughts about God and Jesus. Steve reminded us, however, that the very first chapter of Genesis talks about the “spirit of God” moving over the earth. The Holy Spirit is there from the beginning. He went on to say the Sprit is that force within us that feels like “love.” God is Love, as we teach our children from their birth. He had many other wonderful things to say about how pervasive is God’s love, but my favorite was when he quoted Elvis Presley, of all people, and his song “A Hunka Hunka Burning Love.” That’s what he said God is, a hunk of burning love. What a wonderful image! And how I appreciate a minister who can introduce a bit of humor into his sermon.
The rest of Father’s Day Sunday we spent experiencing God’s burning love. Everywhere we went there was the beauty of God’s creation, as you can see in this picture of the beach at Mohegan Bluffs and this rose bush we saw along the way. You can also see the 150-stepped stairway we had to descend to reach the beach!
It was amazing to think that the houses perched on top of the bluff won’t be there in another century thanks to erosion. That would have happened to this beautiful Victorian lighthouse if not for the far-sightedness of the citizens of Block Island and the U.S. Government. When they saw that the edge of the bluff was a mere 50 feet from the building, they moved the building to the site you see here. The guide said it would last in that spot another 100+ years, and then they’d have to move it again. All of which caused me to reflect on the impermanence of man’s creations within the permanence of God’s.
We also found examples of God’s burning love in the interactions we had with the people of Block Island. One woman, seeing us pant up the hill towards the lighthouse, gave us two chilled bottles of water, accompanied by a friendly conversation about the history of the island—and about the woman who made her neighbor re-dig her septic field because it went onto her property—about 8 inches! She sure could have used a hunka love! Somehow I don’t think that would happen with Amish neighbors. There also happened to be a music festival that night and they served free burgers and hot dogs to all comers. Talk about putting love into action1
Reba and my room had a small porch just down the hall, which we had all to ourselves. It looked back onto a farm with various exotic animals like a yak, a huge turtle, a giant rabbit, and a llama.
That’s the llama drinking down a whole cup of feed! And that’s me in front of my garden—I wish!
We went to bed early and slept the best sleep we’d had in months. All that hiking! Well, and maybe a few too many burgers. The next day was just as beautiful and we stayed as long as we could until “reality” called us back to shore. But there is nothing like being on an island in the middle of the ocean to give you some wonderful perspective on life and remind you of all the beauty and love that surrounds you all the time, if you can only stop to see it.
Speaking of which, Reba loved this way of arranging seashells (which she collects wherever we go—our house is “swimming” in them!. I share it with you as something you might like to create yourself. Or just enjoy as another example of what we can do with the beautiful gifts God gives us.
I hope you and yours had a wonderful Father’s Day, too!