I picked Mum up and we met Geoff at a seafood restaurant on the Manatee River. I may complain that summer comes too early, but Florida can be stunningly beautiful at this time of the year. Fish & Chips, lobster chowder, key-lime pie, great conversation and the Gulf Coast at it's best.
The point, of course, was giving my mum uninterrupted time with her two little boys! Who could have predicted what our world would look like in 2010, circa 1957 when this series of photos was taken in Folkestone, England? (That's me on the left, Geoff to the right.) In the 1950's my mum and dad were still in the process of launching their new life together, putting down roots in the South of England. Who knew we'd all end up drifting west, against the current of the Gulf-Stream, and wash up on the coast of Florida?
I don't believe in chance. Nor am I a fan of fatalism. My long-view is always wrapped up in the idea of providence. Providence is the notion that, at its simplest, God has plans for each one of us - just like my parents did when they first looked at that series of sepia-toned photographs. But providence isn't over and done with just because God has something "in mind". Providence also includes the element of response.
The way I have taken responsibility, or not, for my life works together with God's big-picture in terms of faithfulness, commitment, obedience and my willingness to receive love. God never lets go, because God is always faithful. So what my life looks like now - over half a century down the road, is most certainly the work of providence.
So there we were, Mum, Geoff, Derek (dad gets his turn in June!) - sitting around the table on the side of mighty river, caught up in the flow of another mighty river. God's love and faithfulness is a river; sometimes we paddle, sometimes we drift. Yet there we are, deep in the flow, secure in the knowledge of everlasting love.
Mother's Day, 2010.
- There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. - Psalm 46