Memories of Maine

The other day my oldest daughter and I started to reminisce about Maine. We were stationed there in the early 80’s. Our oldest was five months old when we reported to our duty station in Winter Harbor. We left Maine when she was three.

Since that time, we have gone back just a few times. The last time we visited, our oldest was going into sixth grade. I was surprised at how many sights she remembered from Maine. I smiled to myself to hear her talk about Downeast Maine.

I mentioned a few more sights and with each mention, she got a bit more excited. After talking with her, I have not stopped thinking about our time there. It was a special place to live. The Navy community was small, and close knit. Friendships were formed that still last to this day. I often say I left a big part of my heart there.

This morning I woke up early. Usually when I awake that early I fall back to sleep easily. This morning was not so. I turned over and my eyes popped open and my brain was racing with clarity. In my mind, I walked through the little town where we lived. I could picture things that I am sure are no longer there. The Donut Hole, a building that looked like a fishing shack that overlooked the water. On the wall hung many mugs belonging to the regulars. There was always some group of fishermen, lobstermen, or locals sitting around tables, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Across the street was a grocery store, where you were greeted warmly whenever you went in.

I often walked into town with our daughter. We would visit the Five and Dime store and I would glance across the street to the drug store that had a soda counter in it. The town still calls to me. My heart still yearns to be back there.

The Navy has long since left the area. The housing for military personnel are now privately owned or rented out to tourists.

I can still hear the waves crashing onto the rocks and the shore. Having been a Navy family, we were always around a body of water, but the coast of Maine remains the most beautiful coast to me. The water is grey. The air is brisk. It churns with energy unlike the lapping water of many of the coasts I have been around. I can still feel the smell of the water, it filled your senses and made me feel alive. In winter it was especially angry, always turbulent, like it was trying not to freeze over in the frigid temperature. I love the coast of Downeast Maine.

Yes, a large piece of my heart is in Maine, as it became a part of me. The experience of living there, meeting the people there is woven into me. It has been forty years since we left, yet I can return there rapidly in my mind.

It’s easy to yearn for places you have been. To recall the sights, the sounds, the smells and long to return. It’s a known place to you.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4 (NKJV)

Jesus promised us a place with Him. The Master Carpenter is preparing a mansion for us. He is coming back for us.

Although I have never been there, have never lived there, there is a place deep within me that yearns for Heaven a little more than I yearn for Winter Harbor. My heart lies in Heaven, and it waits to be there with my Lord.

What’s Up With the Roses? Part 1 Background

Roses became a part of my life during our last few days living in Winter Harbor Maine. Below is the story of how that happened.

A group of ladies in Winter Harbor joined together each Tuesday morning for a Bible Study. We all lived transient lives, depending on the Navy to give us orders of where we would live and also let us know when it was time to retire.

Whenever one of us were retiring or changing duty stations, the girls in Bible Study would do what had become a traditional farewell gathering. Of course, we would eat (that’s a given), then we would each sign a book for the person leaving. There would be prayer for her and lots of tears and hugs. Parting is never easy, even when you know it is a part of the life you have chosen for yourself.

My going away party was no different. Brunch was served, book was signed and then the prayer time. One women had written a lovely note to me as she had felt God had given her. It talked about my life being a rose and that in our new life in San Diego I would blossom into what the Lord had planned for me. Pretty wonderful, right? I smiled, content in what I had heard. And then… there is always continuations, those three dots in your life, like waiting for a shoe to drop. The other shoe dropped shortly after that.

Another woman, while praying after the letter had been read cleared her throat and began speaking. I will never forget her words. She said, “And as a rose has many thorns for it’s beauty, there are many thorns awaiting you.”

Now, you would think that would deter me from lovingly following my husband cross country, a logical person would do so. Not me. Acts 21:11 says, “He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” (NLT) I had often wondered how Paul could continue his journey into Jerusalem, and yet he did.

The night of my going away brunch we went to a movie, I can’t remember what it was because I was thinking about Paul going into Jerusalem knowing what awaited him. I was still wrestling with what had been said to me earlier. In between the popcorn, candy and soft drinks I realized that although my feet and hands had not been bound, I was facing the unknown.

A few days later, we packed our U-Haul and started our journey. Our plan at that time was to go to San Diego, my husband do his tour on his destroyer, and he would get out and go to Bible College. Our plan was 7 years and we would head back to Maine. Proverbs 16:9 says, ” We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (NLT) Determine our steps He did. 28 years later we left San Diego.

Were there thorns awaiting me? Too many to count! Did I want to give up? Yes. Many times I found myself on my face pleading for God to remove things before me.

What I learned was strength, trust, prayer, and faith. Our God will never leave us. He is our constant source of strength.

May your day be filled with the goodness of our God.