How does one stock up on hope when facing an unknown? I find this question lurking in the corners, ready to haunt anyone willing to listen. It builds in the normal cycle of a day. Everyone is vulnerable to a sense of despair. It often feels paralyzing.
We were resting under a large fan, staring out on China Beach. We had come on a mission. Now that we were here, we realize how difficult the quest was going to be. One wanted to do something, but what? One felt that one should not waste time. Yet, other than walking in circles, what were the options?
Someone suggested breakfast. We were following the old mariner’s mandate when facing tough seas. In those times, “out on the high seas again and badly damaged now by the storm, we dumped the cargo overboard. The third day the sailors lightened the ship further by throwing off all the tackle and provisions.” (Acts 27.18) We needed to dump the baggage we were carrying.
As we entered the restaurant, I knew we were in for a treat. The table by the window overlooking the pool and beach was a shady oasis. The Vietnamese coffee brought the warmth that we were looking for. The buffet with the fresh baked breads and fruit omelets (banana omelets anyone?) was an unexpected treat.
Our reflective conversation focused on priorities.
We were on a quest. The important part was that we were engaged and acting. Whether or not we succeeded was not important. It was important that we were here.
We had already discovered a wonderful place. China Beach is something I could not imagine. Its white sands stretch endlessly north and south. There is a surreal quietness broken only by the sea breezes gently pushing by. Nothing is rushed, hurried, or stressed.
We were doing what we felt we had been called to do. This was a quest that we had given birth to almost a decade earlier. I had lost hope of it ever being a reality, yet now we were here.
Hope was alive.