On a sunlit afternoon, as I relaxed on the upper deck of my houseboat,
I felt, with a bit of a shock, the arrival of an unseen visitor...a spirit.
Someone had drifted into my space...and my awareness.
It was the softest presence, barely perceptible.
Floating above me was this gentle little one who was so pure...so innocent.
It was a little girl. She was making her presence known.
She hovered with a steadiness.
I could feel her intently, yet shyly, trying to make a connection with me.
I had no idea who she was. Her energy was not familiar to me.
I was startled by this unexpected and rare event, not sure what to do.
She seemed to need me for something...
Had I perceived her accurately?
I heard/felt: "Please give my Daddy my love."
I felt myself choking up.
The need was great. I felt a deep sorrow around them.
"Yes, yes...I will," I answered.
But who was her Daddy? I had no clue. No answer came.
"But HOW? How would I do this for you?"
In the next moment, I felt a puff of love blown from her to me.
Like a soft packet...a wee cloud.
It was so distinctly a child's love for her father.
The little cloud contained everything...
every nuance, every familiarity, all the words unspoken,
her trusting heart, her delicate aliveness, her understanding and sorrow
for what could not be lived.
So much was expressed in that precious bundle...
I was undone...
"How do I do this?" I asked once more.
"Please give it to him for me!"
As if there was no more energy to speak, she faded out.
She was gone...the little ethereal child.
It was the most touching experience...
Not knowing what else to do, I held it near my heart.
Who was the father? What had happened?
I racked my mind, trying to recall if I knew anyone who had lost a child...
No one came to mind at all. No one... Still no one.
There was nothing to do but sit with what had happened.
You know...I always tell an honest story...as baffling or embarrassing
or likely to cause controversy as it might be.
It seems important...
Everything in life matters, though we miss so much of that context and detail.
I refrain from embellishing, bending, sugar-coating or making excuses
for what Spirit does.
If the Creator chooses to color outside the lines, well...it's his creation.
He can do what he likes.
He many times confounds the wise and up-ends man's attempts to control
1 Cor. 27-28.
Eight months earlier...
My first visit to a nudist camp...
After months of a seemingly crazy desire to eschew clothing,
things escalated to the point where I wanted to be among like-minded folks.
Now it was bad enough that this was going on in private, but this new development was too much!!
I had more than my share of judgement and discomfort over the whole issue.
Me?! Why, I couldn't possibly do anything like that!
Go to a nudist camp? Eewww!
But the feeling persisted and grew in intensity.
Finally, I looked heavenward and asked point blank: "Is this from you!?!?
Because I KNOW it's not from me!
If this is from you, then connect me!"
Ten minutes later, there was a knock at my door...
"Who is it?"
"It's Jason! You know! We just met on the trail."
While walking around the lake that afternoon, I'd met a young guy
walking his dog...a neighbor as it turned out.
We finished the walk together, exchanged names and pointed out our
respective condos. It was all quite casual and off-handed.
What was he doing here already and why couldn't I find anything to put on?!
This was inconvenient!
"Wait just a minute!"
Ten minutes and 6 wardrobe selections later, I opened the door, apologizing for
taking so long and muttering something about not being able to find anything to wear.
He grinned at me.
"Well, you didn't need to do that on my account...
I've been a nudist since I was 4 years old!"
My eyes opened wide! I crooked a finger at him and said "Come in!
Sit down, young man. I have some questions for you!"
There was my introduction to nudism...
Ask and you shall receive...
The young man's adoptive parents had started the 1st nudist camp
in the area. He'd grown up in the movement.
What better person to introduce me to the scene!?
He answered all my questions that day. He even offered to take me there.
I deferred, but there was no mistaking the synchronicity.
A couple of weeks later, I made the call...
I was going to brave it on my own.
A grandmotherly woman answered and gave me directions to the place.
I was assured that I could wear clothes the first few times.
She offered to greet me at the gate and take me on a tour to allay my fears.
All right then! I summoned up my courage and headed over.
Not taking any chances, I showed up in a big shirt, huge sunglasses
and an enormous beach towel.
After the tour, she introduced me to a few regulars, wished me
a good visit and left.
So far, so good. Not nearly as frightening as I'd imagined.
People were cordial and easygoing.
I had lots of time to observe things.
I couldn't help but notice someone observing me all afternoon, as well...
He was a handsome man with a winning smile.
Finally, I smiled back nervously.
He came over and introduced himself.
It was his first time doing this, too. Terrific! I wasn't the only one.
We huddled together sharing all our impressions and our funny ideas
about what we'd expected to find!
He asked me if I'd like to have dinner sometime.
So the next weekend, we had dinner and some great conversation.
There was something about him... I felt like getting to know him.
We got together a few more times.
It was then that our conversation got a bit more serious...
The man with the ready smile was not as happy as he portrayed himself to be...
As he started to share his story, I found that our chance meeting was far
more important than I could have guessed...
He had been through a lot of personal difficulties...divorce, loss of his home, troubles with the IRS.
He was at his breaking point.
He finally felt that suicide was the only way out of his predicaments.
The day we met, in fact, was the day he had planned to take his life.
He had a loaded revolver ready on the passenger seat of his truck.
As he was driving down the road, looking for a secluded wooded area
in which to do it, he saw the small sign for the nudist camp.
"Heck! Why not?! It's my last day on earth..."
He turned in to spend his last afternoon at that unlikely place.
After he left that day, he planned to put the gun to his head and end it all.
Our meeting had changed that...
It was hard to believe that his smile hid so much pain.
I was careful to spend time with him now.
He really was a good soul...tenderhearted and open.
There were so many painful events in his life, but his greatest heartache
had been the loss of his 4 year-old daughter... She was the apple of his eye.
His mention of her was brief and so terribly painful.
Now I realized with a start that she was the little girl in spirit who had come that day.
This was 'Daddy'.
What to do? I couldn't just tell him.
Would he even believe such a far-fetched story?
I waited for things to 'ripen'.
Two weeks later, he was in town and we sat down to dinner together.
I tried not to think about my encounter too closely.
"Relax," I told myself.
After awhile, however, there was a break in the conversation.
I felt a tiny shift of atmosphere.
I thought, 'Now is the time...'
And then I remembered how she had lobbed that little cloud of love to me...
I remembered the feeling of it...
So...that's how it's done...
I tossed her little cloud to him ever so gently.
And then I waited, watching his face.
A moment later, he stopped mid-sentence and I saw his face briefly
twist with emotion.
He recognized her...
"Larry...what is it? What are you feeling?"
Tears slipped down his cheeks. I saw his fathers' heart...
"It's her, honey. It's your little one..."
He got her message just as she'd hoped...
His grief had all but blocked her presence in his life.
She had to find another way to reach him...
Their connection was restored. He felt the reality of his little girl's love...
a love that helped sustain him.
It was wonderful to see the comforting effect this had on him over time...
I treasure those opportunities when they come. They enlarge our reality...
We find that we are not so alone and that much love surrounds us
as we make our way through life...
Our friendship took an interesting turn in time as I found that I was
in his life for another purpose, as well...
That story will find it's way onto the pages soon...
"When God knocks a leg out from under you...Karmic set-ups"
Jason, of the chance meeting, has a story worth telling, as well.
We had some remarkable experiences..."Flyboy" coming soon.
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Debra Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org