I was only sixteen, an age when I just couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license and be free! My relationship with my father was good, but I was at the age when I wanted to separate myself – to grow up. I wanted to live! I was the youngest and I had one older brother and two sisters. They were all left home by now. On this particular fishing trip it was just Dad and me. It was a long drive to get there. We were towing our tent trailer and we stopped only for gas and a quick lunch during the ten hour drive.
It was a desolate spot outside the small village of Lamaline on the extreme southern tip of the island of Newfoundland, the most easterly Province in North America. We set up the camper by the side of a small brook which ran from far up in the country out past our camp, under a concrete bridge and out into the Atlantic Ocean. We spent the morning fly fishing for salmon and in the afternoon Dad went back fishing while I drove our brand new car all around the little village. Soon after we had eaten our catch of the day, the sun began to set and my father and I took a walk across the road and along the beach; the only sound was that of the ocean waves gently swishing against the rocks. The colours playing out before us included an amazing combination of reds, pinks, greens and yellows.
Dad and I walked side by side, the beauty before us binding our hearts together. He draped his arm over my shoulders while commenting that I was getting so tall he would soon not be able to reach up to me. I tucked my left index finger in the belt loop at his back. My heart felt full. I can still bring that memory fresh to my mind and almost taste the salt water in the air. I remember looking at my father’s face and feeling this enchanting fervor of my love for him. He was my dad! He was wonderful! I can still recall how he pointed to the faint outline of the French islands of St Pierre & Miquelon on the horizon and how it seemed they were being gently covered up for the evening with a warm blanket of pink clouds. The setting sun seemed to be gazing directly at us. Dad’s face, bathed in that light, was as ruggedly beautiful as the scene playing out before us. In that moment it felt like a piece of heaven to be nestled under his arm. I felt more love for may dad than I could contain.
Many years have passed since then, but any time the sun sets and the darkness rolls in to bring closure to the day, I find myself transported back to that moment of perfection on a deserted beach on the edge of the Atlantic seashore. I am reminded of my dad, but also of my heavenly Father that created the beauty my dad and I shared. In that one moment, I knew the best of both fathers. And the feeling lasts!
The way my dad showed his love for me on that trip, particularly that evening, gave me a glimpse of our Father’s love. The comfort and tenderness I felt in my dad’s company is comparable to the feeling I have when I am in communion with my Saviour. Now when I take the time to gaze on a beautiful sunset I can imagine God walking beside me, a smile on his face as he points out the beauty of His creation. I can envision what He might look like, with the last rays of light dancing across his features. For this I remain grateful to both fathers, who when I was a teenager, gave me a simple gift I’ll never forget.
Oren Cole Toronto, Canada [email protected]