When I was in the 5th grade, my music teacher had our class sing along to The Beach Boys’ song, Kokomo. There are a few lines in the song’s chorus that call out different tropical locations – “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya, to Bermuda, Bahamas, c’mon pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego, Baby why don’t we go?…” I promise I’m going somewhere with this.
For the weeks leading up to our trip, and even now as I write this recap, I can’t think about Key Largo without singing these lyrics in my head. I’d never been to any of the Florida Keys, so I was looking forward to experiencing some of Key Largo while Jordan participated in a four-day training for church planters, partly because I’d heard great things and partly because of the images my little 1o-year-old brain cooked up, thanks to Kokomo.
The training was held at the Key Largo Hilton, and the hotel is right on the beach, built into the bush.We spent our first day enjoying lunch on the beach and letting Jameson roll around on a beach chair.The next day, while Jordan was in meetings, I took Jameson to the pool, but a heavy rainstorm had left the water feeling pretty cold. So that meant the next best thing was rolling around on more beach chairs, chewing on empty plastic cups, and stuntin’ in aviator shades.The following day was overcast, so I skipped an attempt at the pool altogether. Instead I walked Jameson around the hotel grounds in his ergo baby carrier. They had a nature trail that wound around the property, so we got to take in all kinds of trees, plant life, the beach, white herons, and even a manatee swimming near the boat dock.
Jordan even joined us for a short minute during one of his breaks, and I got to grab a pic of him smizing. (that’s “smiling with your eyes” for all of you not up on your urban dictionary vocabulary.)That evening it started raining, and it didn’t stop for the remainder of our time there. Not once in 48 hours. So my visions of enjoying the beach were replaced with trying to entertain Jameson in a hotel room with a very limited set of toys. And with him being out of his element, this was a rough two days. I think there was one night when Jordan returned from his training, and I was on the precipice of a total meltdown. He rescues me in those moments, and I’m so incredibly grateful for it.Putting the rain aside, I soaked up the views of the water and the time we did get outside in a tropical climate. And I really enjoyed meeting some wonderful people who were there for the training along with their families. People who were pastoring around the country or serving as missionaries in countries I’d never even think to visit.
I truly believe we all have unique stories to tell. The cool thing is the stories I hear from people who work in ministry are so often filled with surprise that I regularly walk away in awe of how their lives have been pieced together. Stories of how people met their spouse. How they came to adopt three children. How they left the comforts of home and family for far, far away places. How they got caught up in the amazing grace of God. It makes me appreciate my story more. And it makes me appreciate how God is in the business of making stories as surprising as mine happen all the time.
It does my heart a whole lot of good.