Tuesday, May 3, 2011


All I remember is that it was early, maybe 5:30-6 a.m. I was alone on the beach in Dana Point, California. The rocks of the promontory on my left, stretching in tide pools into the great Pacific which, that morning it seemed, was pretty excited. The waves came rolling in around 10 to 12 feet.

It was one of those strange, uncomfortable passages in life. Bonnie and I were housed temporarily with my nephew Bob. Bob had been successful in business, and at the time, unmarried. He invited us to stay with him in his lovely home overlooking the Pacific until things got better for us; an act of kindness for which I shall ever be grateful.

I had recently served as the Executive Vice-President and Academic Dean of a small Christian college in Pennsylvania. The titles sound far more pretentious than they were. The college had about forty students, most of them ex-drug addicts from the streets of New York. I resigned under painful circumstances. I suppose I won’t know until the Final Analysis, whether I did the right thing. In any case, we loaded all our belongings in the truck, put our second car on a trailer behind, and headed back to California, where I had spent most of my adult life.

It is my habit to get up early in the morning. It is, hands down, the best part of my day. On this day I decided to take a walk. It became a long walk and in time, I found myself standing alone on the beach, transfixed by the crashing of these enormous waves. I positioned myself as close as I could get to them without getting soaked. The mist from the foam wet my skin, my gray hair and filled my mouth with the taste of salt.

I sing a little bit. Perhaps enough to hold my own in a choir. But I haven’t sung in a choir since my 20’s. I can’t read music, and I never thought my voice really worth listening to. But that morning, something happened.

The song, “How Great Thou Art” welled up in my chest and could not be held back. I began to sing. Softly at first, but then it gradually built into full voice, becoming especially forceful at the lyric, “Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee . . .” No one could possibly hear me over the roar of the waves, even if there had been someone around. So I sang to the waves, and to God, until tears rolled down my cheeks.

It is a memory I deeply cherish. You can imagine then, how moved I was when I witnessed this the other night, on TV . . .

“How Great Thou Art “ – Carrie Underwood.

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