She was on vacation with her parents. Dad was on the golf course that day, Jorie and her mother were together both enjoying the relaxing vacation pastime of reading at the pool.
With a drowsy brain and droopy eyelids, Jorie fell asleep on the poolside chaise. Her book dropped, and there she lay snoozing for about an hour.
When she woke, it was plain to see she was getting good and burnt under the intense noonday sun. She reached down to grab her tote bag, riffled through it to find her sunblock, slathered on a generous squirt, then another, and one more to be safe.
Next, she found her Yankee’s cap with the broadbill and put it on, followed by her long sleeve bathing suit cover-up. Her lobster-like legs were still bare, so she got up, walked over to the pool attendant, and got a fresh beach towel to cover her lower half.
But the chaise wasn’t situated just right. Jorie dragged it over to a shady spot. Huffing and puffing from the exertion, Jorie knew she wasn’t done yet and went back to get the side table which she soon hoped to use as a spot to rest an ice-cold tropical drink, garnished (she decided) with a pineapple wedge.
The little table was much heavier than it looked, and still, she persisted. She had a clumsy hold on the concrete square, so she shoved it with her foot, then crouched a little to use her right shin to move it inch by inch until it was situated nicely beside her chaise in its new location.
With a satisfied sigh, Jorie laid down on the chaise, spread out the beach towel, and at long last, she looked around. There was her mother six chaises away, staring intently at her with a mischievous grin on her face.
Her mother’s chaise was surrounded by other empty chaise lounges, all with little square cement tables at their side.
“You could have simply moved to a different chaise already in the shade” she observed.
Jorie just shook her head from side to side and said, “Duh!”
They both had a laugh, and then her mom picked up her things and moved to the empty chaise next to her daughter’s newly transplanted one.
Her mother didn’t have to say another word. Jorie started to think deeply as she lay her head back and closed her eyes: What else am I missing by not first looking around me? What heavy baggage am I unnecessarily carrying from place to place?
With eyes closed, under a clear blue sky, God has a way of finding you. In such a sacred moment God appears in patterns on the inside of your eyelids.
For Jorie, it was easy to decipher the divine message: Spend more time to assess a situation, and less time reacting impulsively. If it doesn’t move easily find what you need somewhere else.
That vacation was twenty years ago. Jorie gives no credit to God for the break-through that changed her life and became her guiding principle.
Jorie identifies as “humanist” and says she is not a believer. But, she spends a lot of time in reflection with her eyes closed. She calls it meditation; we call it prayer. She is confident, content, and grateful. She says she is “self-assured.” We would argue the “self” she talks about so freely is a bit more complicated.
You and I know God lives within every human soul. Clearly our Creator is waiting for the next perfect moment to reveal the source of Jorie’s faith. It’s bound to happen.
There will be a time when she finds herself carrying a burden too heavy for her to hold, a situation impossible to walk away from. Her eyes will be closed, and she will be studying the patterns on her inner eyelids. That’s when she thinks: God is here to help me through it.
Or maybe, the perfect moment will be on her long-awaited wedding day. She’ll be standing before her whole world; her mother, her father, family, and friends. She is hand-in-hand with her soulmate by her side. The sun is shining down on the couple. Jorie holds her head high and looks up at the sky. Her eyelids deliberately close for only a second, and in that tiny space of time, it strikes her suddenly: God is responsible for my intense joy.
She praises God.
She thanks God.
And, she whispers inwardly to God: I believe in You.