Over Spring Break, I went to stay with my grandparents in Florida. They are what one would traditionally consider a “snowbird”– they stay in Florida from January-March. However, when I think “snowbird,” I think of people going down to Florida and staying inside until the weather improves in Ohio. That couldn’t be farther from what actually happens on Nettles Island– the place where my Pap and Gramma live.
Nettles Island is a man-made island that sits in the middle of the Indian River. It is (nearly) perfectly square and is located right on A1A– right across from the beach. 🙂
This place is ANYTHING but boring and calm. Yes, the vast majority of residents are retired and over the age of 60, but they are also well-to-do people who have spent their life working their tails to the bone and are accustomed to being very active. No one sits around idly and lets life pass them by. At any given moment, you will catch them playing tennis, bocce ball, horseshoes, pickle ball, kayaking, swimming, doing Zumba, line dancing, surfing, running…. basically anything that you’d think a 20-something would do, you could find 70- and 80-year-olds doing.
My first full day there (Sunday), I went to a block party (yes you read correctly– block party with 70-year-olds) with my grandparents. I was introduced to all of their friends, all of whom had been married 40+ years. If you know me, you know that I love people watching. As I sat there, I looked around and observed everyone’s interactions with one another. Do you know what I saw? Enjoyment. I saw people genuinely enjoying one another’s company. I think sometimes, in our busy lives, we forget to just sit down and enjoy each other. We forget what it feels like to be content in sitting in a calm setting, without technology, and just having conversations. Not gossip, not chat about the weather, but in-depth, meaningful discussions. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of memories being shared, and a lot of lives coming together.
But I think the biggest thing I saw what the love that was emanating from these people. I saw husbands looking at their wives as though their hair hadn’t greyed or their skin hadn’t wrinkled. I saw wives looking at their husbands like they hadn’t put on weight or they their hairline hadn’t begin to recede (or disappear). What does this say to me? That love–real love–the kind of love that these people have together– lasts. It’s true, it’s real, and it doesn’t fail. It’s not a fair-weather friend, and it doesn’t require the people involved to be knockouts and bombshells. This love is deep. It is not superficial and does not fade with time. If anything, it grows deeper.
I heard stories of love that has lasted through MANY trials: through being separated by war, through the loss of a child, through betrayal, through confrontations and deceit. But you know what I didn’t see? People who gave up. They saw that their love was a love worth fighting for. And they did. And 40 years later, they are more in love now than they were the day they began dating.
I think God knew I needed a week full of this level of love. He knew that I needed to see that this love exists. I think I was subconsciously losing hope. I know I know, I’m only 22. I have my whole life ahead of me. Life hasn’t really begun for me. Blah blah blah. I get it. But sometimes, it’s tough. It’s tough trusting that God is preparing an awesome love story for me. It’s tough seeing people experience it. I don’t want life to pass me by.
This weekend has solidified for me that that man IS out there waiting for me. That my one, true love DOES exist. That God IS writing a brilliant love story for me that I will be able to share with people in 50 years and be happy to know that my husband and I will be more in love on that day than we were on the day we met.
I am excited to begin this journey that has been started in my heart. I am looking forward to the day that I can say ” You are the one I’ve been waiting for.” I am trusting that that day is coming. For now, I will be happy, while I’m waiting.