A few weeks ago, when I was in my hometown of Westport, WA (population 2,500), I had an experience that truly touched my heart. You see, several years ago, my family was surprised to learn that many people in the community had donated money for my father to have a bench - with memorial plaque - on a pathway to the beach. This was done without even my mother's knowledge and meant so much to all of us that my father had been beloved not only by us, but by all of our little town.
For some reason, I had never been. Every time my family visited the bench, I wasn't in town and although I had always planned on making the trip, for one reason or another, it didn't happen. So, during my week at home, I made it a priority to finally go and sit on my Dad's bench.
The day of the visit, Jenner and I spent a lovely morning with my mom, sharing great conversation over coffee and eggs. During our stay, and this day in particular, the weather was perfectly stormy, rainy, windy and wonderful. (If you know me, you know there is nothing I love more than a dramatic beach storm. At one point, the windows looked like they were bending in the crazy, strong wind and the rain was actually coming down sideways. It felt just like home and I loved every minute of it.) When we made our drive into Westport (my family's home is actually in a town called Tokeland adjacent to Westport - a town that is a whopping two mile peninsula), the rain was coming down in buckets and, let me tell you, it was COLD. Nothing, however, could stop us from making it to the bench.
And when we finally made it, when I finally sat down on my dad's bench, it was perfect.
It made me feel closer to my father sitting on that bench, remembering how loved he was. And it meant the world to me that Jenner was there sitting next to me.
We then decided to brace ourselves for the cold and walk a little further to the shore. When we arrived, it started pouring again. Jenner walked toward the water to marvel at how the surfers could stand the freezing water and I took a moment to walk by myself for a few minutes. In those moments, I started talking quietly to my father. I told him how much I loved and missed him and how truly lucky I am to have had him as my dad. Then Jenner and I headed back to the bench before we went home.
Just before we reached it, the rain stopped and the most beautiful rainbow appeared across the sky.
And in that moment, I felt my father there with me, his love wrapped around me, and I felt a faith I hadn't known before.
Thank you, Dad.