As we reached the top of the bridge in Bethany Beach, to our left was the glorious, ever peaceful, Atlantic ocean, brilliantly arrayed with an azure blue sky, accompanied by billowy white clouds, (that seem to have followed us from the Carolinas.) To our right was an enchanting inlet cove with it’s lush reed grass swaying in the breeze, their roots fastened deeply within the august, untainted marshland. We had arrived at our final destination! Vito and Lilian’s home was nestled upon the water with an entrancing view of the Indian River bay. We had traveled to the beach to see Vito a few times while staying with Tina and Mark after our adventures in Connecticut, but now we were going to be living there for awhile, something neither of us had ever imagined. Kit and I have always been drawn to life upon the water…allured by the oceans mystery and charm, and hushed beckoning call to enjoy it’s serenity, calm and quiet.
As we gathered a few of our things from the car, Lilian and Vito greeted us with open arms and welcoming smiles. The lamb roast cooking in the oven filled their home with a savory aroma, which combined with the warmth radiating from their pellet stove in the chilly air, gave us a cozy, comforting feeling. Their tiny, (I’m talking pocket-size,) dog “Itsy” greeted us as well…running around Grantham a few times , barking and making sure he knew it was her home. We all chuckled as Graham just stood there, trying to make out what this little creature was doing. In seeing the two of them next to each other, I could only imagine how David must have felt when at first he saw Goliath. Lilian showed us to our room where we began to unpack and finish bringing in our suitcases and bags from the car. Easter dinner was cooking and we were hungry.
As Kit and I freshened up from our long day on the road, we could hear laughing and new voices in the living room. Lilian and Vito’s dear friends Denise and Randy were joining us for dinner. We were all in for a real treat as every Easter, Vito and Lilian celebrated this festive day with a Seder Passover meal. Their ceremony with the unleavened bread, Lamb, and myriad of symbolic foods accompanied by the story of the Jewish people’s victorious flight from their slavery in Egypt, was not only brand new to Kit and I but it was such a honor to be apart of this holy ritual. (And the meal was delicious.)
We said goodnight early as Kit was beginning his new job the next morning and we were exhausted… We slept wonderfully with our window open, truly blessed by the chilly breezes blowing in from off the water, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the nightlife upon the inlet cove.
Kit was nervous…Graham and I felt it too…his first day at his new job, meeting his boss and co-workers for the first time was both exciting and a little bit daunting. I missed him before he even left, after we enjoyed breakfast with Vito and Lilian. As Graham and I said goodbye to him, I wondered what on earth I was going to do my first day alone. It was an entirely different life now with Kit working at a job and not out of the house. To be honest with you, I felt an unexpected sadness inside. I decided to take Graham for a long walk to the beach. My only problem was finding enough clothes to layer up with to keep warm. Being the end of April, I thought for sure it would be sunny and warm in Delaware, but spring had decided to postpone its arrival and winter was happy to stay on…(Kit and I had only brought summer attire.) I ended up grabbing Kits dressy Pendleton suit jacket he had brought for work as Graham and I began our venture to the shore. (Better to be warm than fashionable.)
Graham loved the cold wind and air against his fur coat, as well as our long, vigorous walk…as we arrived to the jetty rocks , I was surprised to see so many fishermen, their thermoses of hot coffee in one hand and their fishing reel in the other, dressed in overcoats, hoping to catch their daily ration of fish. As we passed by, saying our “good mornings,” one of the men yelled out, “Are you walking a dog or a bear?” It made me smile…I wasn’t alone…It was Graham, Jesus and I now everyday…Monday thru Friday…I could get use to this morning ritual…the ocean was breathtaking and even though it was eminently cold, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the water glisten as the suns light hit each subtle wave, the seagulls calling out as they dove into the water and Graham endearingly running from the incoming tides. We arrived home close to 11:00 and my first task at hand was to try and make our room a little cozier with a few of the things I brought with us…Was it five o’clock yet?
At 5:30, when Kit walked through the door, the look of peace, ease and his bright smile told me his day was blessed. My heart was brimming with such joy at the gift God had given Kit. He talked a mile a minute of how friendly his two bosses and coworkers were…He was so excited to be doing graphics again (as well as getting paid for it.) The two partners he worked with were younger than Kit and did not have as much knowledge and experience as he did with computers, graphics and programming. In many ways, it was a good thing as he had an abundance of knowledge to offer, yet they hired him at an entry level position, so there was only so much that he felt the freedom to do, unless asked. Kit knew in his heart that this job was Gods way of bringing us to Delaware… He was committed to be or do whatever he could to be an asset to this small company. The four of us shared a wonderful evening of celebration with one of Vito’s scrumptious, home cooked meals. It was a prefect ending to our first full day at our new abode.
The next day, Graham and I drove Kit to work and then ventured down to see Tina in Milford. (About an hours drive from Bethany beach.) We had the best time…What I loved most about our time together was it didn’t matter ‘what’ we did…we had so much fun just being together...Tina and I would sit on the porch for hours, sipping our Starbucks coffee with French Vanilla creamer, talking and laughing…we’d get in her car and go to McDonald’s for some French fries or venture over to a few thrift shops. (She and I could spend and hour in heaven there, leaving with a bag of new treasures for only 5.00.) It was a double blessing as Graham got to be with his girlfriend McPherson all day and his little adopted sister, Kisses. Tina reassured me that I could come down any time I wanted to and that her home was our home. As we left, she invited us to come for the day on Saturday and stay for dinner…already I was feeling better! I drove back to Millsboro, picked Kit up and met his boss and co workers…they were so happy to have him on on board. Our drive home was so beautiful…every road blessed with a magnificent view of the water…I loved the old country roads , the tall , junoesque maple trees that lined the streets and though it still felt like winter, every-now and then we would see Lilac and azalea bushes in full bloom.. their eloquent purples and vivid pinks, sparking a hope that yes, spring was not passing-us by.
Getting settled in.
I think I was experiencing a little bit of culture shock. One week, we were enjoying our own home, the next we were packing it up and now, we were living in a new home, with new people and Kit was gone all the time…It was not an easy adjustment but the Lords grace was certainly abundant in all the sudden changes.
Kit and I had agreed that while he was working at his new job, I would not secure employment as we did not want to leave Graham alone at a new home as well as leave the responsibility of taking care of him with Vito and Lilian. I think this was a season I just needed to hear from the Lord exactly what HE wanted me to do with my time.
Vito was one busy guy! He and Lilian had a quaint two story office built on their property separate from their home and it was where Vito spent most of his time during the day. His ministry was full time, whether traveling to other states, home bible studies, or helping people during the day that met with him in his office. Whenever I did see him, he was always so full of light, joy and yes, I really mean it, HAPPY! He was what I called a big ball of sunshine everyday…How great is that to wake up to every morning?
Lilian was his ministry partner but did not travel with him as often as she would have liked due to health issues…She loved her home, spent a lot of time in her room on her computer and website and was a connoisseur of old classic movies…Every time I would go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, I would smile as I could hear her laughing at one of the old black and white films she had already seen 100 times, but enjoyed it as if it were the first time she ever saw it. (Definitively a connoisseur of classic movies!)
I really don’t know what I was expecting our stay with Lilian and Vito to be like. ..the only thing I had within my mind to compare it to was when we stayed with Tina and her family. That expectation did not come into fruition… (But in all honesty, our months at Tina’s was an extremely rare gift.) How many times do you meet someone one time, move in their home for three months and hit it off with everyone immediately, feeling totally at home and like one big happy family? That was certainly not the norm.
I probably should have read, (by now,) the advantageous book; “ The housemate survival guide and the 15 strategies that make it work.” Kit and I (in the beginning of our journey,) had never thought that part of Gods plan in molding us into His vessels for our ministry up ahead would be having us be house guests at other peoples homes…We were now realizing what He was doing…and, it made perfect sense as one day we would be the ones hosting many guests in Gods home. The Lord was using each home that we stayed in to teach us as well as change us, into the servants He desired us to be.
Lilian and I, had a mutual respect for one another, shared a love for Jesus, and had wonderful conversations about the bible and our experiences with the Lord, but we just could not seem to connect emotionally or as friends. Our relationship reminded me of (now, I am not referring one bit to the character or character traits of these two men, just their entirely opposite personalities,) Felix and Oscar in the popular sitcom The Odd Couple. Felix was a neat freak, eminently proper, and a bit on the neurotic side, where as Oscar was fun loving, sloppy and as casual as one can be. As roommates , sometimes the conflicts that arose between them would make them want to scream or cry , while at other times, laugh hysterically…(perhaps in place of the tears.) Life is just that way…until we go home to be with the Lord, we will always encounter people who we fall in love with, have an immediate connection and we end up being best friends. Then there are others who rub us the wrong way, don’t like us or are our exact opposites. The scripture iron sharpens iron comes to my mind. (God always uses these relationships to work on our characters and no matter how painful it may be, there is always great reward when one day we see, first hand, the changes He has miraculously made inside of us.)
That being said, there were times that I did feel a sense of belonging, but yet many others, that I did not. I felt as if I was staying in someone else’s home, yet not so much feeling a part of the home, if that makes sense. It had its difficult moments, as Lilian and I were the only two within the home during the day… I did know that The Lord knew exactly what HE WAS DOING in this season, even if I did not.
One of my favorite times of the day living there was dinner time. There is just something about breaking bread together and sharing a meal that is heartening. Being that both Vito and Lilian were excellent cooks, we all enjoyed many a delicious meal together. Vito had a homemade recipe for clam spaghetti that was out of this world…It was so much fun to watch him prepare, cook and serve his beautifully presented masterpiece…his seafood pasta along with a loaf of hot sourdough bread and a salad was enough to make us all loosen our belts and start thinking about a good nights sleep, ( or stay at the table with a cup of coffee to share in wonderful fellowship about what the Lord was doing in all of our lives.) Lilian’s recipe for homemade chicken pot pie was undoubtedly the very best we had ever tasted. We in return shared one of our favorite recipes with them, which turned out to be Vito’s dessert preference every time I offered…Homemade Louisiana bread pudding with a hot butter, brown sugar and whiskey sauce.
As the weeks passed by and I was getting more of a feel of what I was to be doing with my time, I began feeling a greater peace and a sense of order and direction. The days I did not drive Kit to his job and use the car, I found my own comfortable schedule… The Lord encouraged me to keep writing, (Vito gave me one of his computers for our room, and I had Kit’s laptop,) I spent a lot of time in worship and intercessory prayer, walked Graham to the jetty and continued trying to get him to feel comfortable with the ocean. I was so thankful for our cell phone with free minutes, as I had many wondrous chats with friends and family on the west coast. We had brought our TV but we did not have cable, thus we enjoyed the collection of movies that Kit and I brought from home. Occasionally, I would play one of my favorite chick-flicks, grab a cup of coffee and call Graham up on the bed so we could snuggle and watch together. It was a perfect afternoon activity… the only thing missing was a large bag of buttered popcorn.
I missed Kit and our abundant time together, and of course the sound of Joshua, Tyler and Julian’s laughter, (and their big hugs.) I longed for some of our familiar things as I did not find any comfort in our room with its ambiance. ( It just wasn’t a ‘Susan and Kit’ room.) With my longtime motto ; “Our homes are our retreats , where memories and quiet joys linger , filled with all the things we love surrounding us,” as well as being the visual person I am and decorator at heart, I just had to let it go and realize, God had given us a place to live, a comfortable bed, loving Christians who had opened their home to us and supported our faith, delicious meals and the gift of living upon the water. My heart truly was filled with great gratitude for all God, Lilian and Vito had done for us. I took comfort in my belief that Kit and I would be able to move out by the end of summer and that our season living with Vito and Lilian would not be for an extended time. (Isn’t there some kind of rule out there that 3 months is the limited time of staying with friends because then it starts to get a little hairy?)
There is one thing God gave me everyday that I knew was one of those gifts, I dare not let myself take for granted, as most likely, it would not be one of the amenities we’d be enjoying at the next place we lived. This wondrous gift was our corner window view of the amazingly beautiful and serene bay. Our room was the only bedroom in the house with this sublime and enchanting panoramic lookout. I loved listening to the gale winds blowing upon the tall reed grass, the songs of the motley sparrows and spirited, vibrant orioles, (their melodious tunes always brought such a cheerfulness to my spirit.) Grantham and I both were in awe at the prodigious horseshoe crabs, (something neither of us had ever beheld,) as well as the energetic, ruddy sandpipers as they scurried upon the shore line with their wispy long legs. I adored the days when I was writing, and in my “deep thinking process,” I would look up from my computer and there before me was a phenomenal thunder storm brewing over the waters. I would just stop and enjoy the ominous black clouds that filled the sky, hovering over the once calm, bay waters, as they became vigorously choppy . After the sudden rain poor, the brilliant rays of the sun would come shining through , causing the bay to sparkle like freshly cut diamonds, and the sunsets were absolutely breathtaking. Our little room with a view was my gift… It was so soothing and peaceful, always filling my heart with such gratitude to the Lord for such a wondrous bestowal during this time in our life.
A curve in the road and very unexpected surprise.
Not even 7 weeks into Kits new job, the two young men that ran the company had to let Kit go, due to personal reasons…Kit already knew in his spirit, that the Lord had brought this particular job to him to bring us to Delaware. He had not seen a long -term future at this company as he was a lot further in his skills and education than the position really called for and it only consisted of two partners and a coworker. Kits heart and dream for some time was to start his own Web Design company, but the timing was never right. As we prayed and sought the Lord, (Vito and Lilian praying with us,) the Lord revealed that now was that time... Vito’s excitement was contagious as he offered to share his office space with Kit…already they were planning where to place his computer and equipment. He and Lilian extended their offer to us to stay at their home for as long as we needed, so Kit could be at ease and not worry about finances while he began his new company and built up his clientele.
I was so happy for Kit. His dream, hidden within his heart was now an open door from the Lord … He had stood by me (even when he didn’t want to live in South Carolina) so I could see if my dream of living there would come into fruition, now it was my turn to stand beside him as he had this God given opportunity to begin his. Kit and I were both comforted as well as assured within our spirits as the Lord reminded us of several things He had told us before this new adventure came about. While working at the Christian News Company in Washington DC, one of the ladies who had a gift of the prophetic, spoke to Kit one day during our worship in the morning. She told him that besides God’s heart for us to one day have a retreat home, the Lord also had a calling on his life to work extensively within the computer business. (She saw a multitude of numbers in her vision.) I did not understand it then, but in seeing first hand, Kits work with graphics and programming, there are in deed, many numbers used in his creating text and graphics. I also remembered one morning in my time with the Lord in Alexandria, Virginia, when the Lord specifically said to me the word ‘graphics,’ and that it would be a large part of Kits future. Lastly, we both recalled how the Lord had told Kit to create a computer program the months we were in South Carolina. He fully obeyed God, not knowing what it would be for, but now he knew! All the pieces were coming together perfectly and were ready for Kit as he began his new company…Don’t you just love it when God brings everything together, uplifting your faith and giving you that awesome, wondrous confirmation within all your bouts of anxiety, that you are right on time in His overall plan and that all is well and will work out according to His plan and purposes?
In my humanness, I had a few emotions that were in need of the Lords touch. I had so hoped we would be able to move in the summer and now it looked as if we were going to be staying on with Vito and Lilian for awhile. Yes, God could do a miracle and bring Kit an abundance of clients, (all at once,) and the provision to move would be there….but, deep down I knew the Lord was asking me to submit to being willing to stay at Vito and Lilian’s until He opened the doors for us to leave, trusting He had a home already in mind for us and until that day came, His grace would be enough to meet the emotions of tension and uncomfortableness I at times felt .
Kits last day at his job was a day of celebration…Out with the old and in with the new! Graham, (though I know he didn’t understand it all,) would be on cloud nine to have his dad home all day long with him…(and me too.) Vito was also very excited to have a co-worker in his office. Though they each had entirely different jobs, I knew there would be plenty of wonderful fellowship between the two of them and what a blessing that would be in both of their lives. God is so good and perfect with His plans and timing.
I knew I needed to sit down and have a pow-wow with the Lord to hear His heart on whether or not He had a job for me now that Kit would be home and the car available. (However, I gave myself a little extra time) to enjoy not having to say goodbye to Kit every morning, sharing lunch with him once again and being free to pray with him each day as he began the dream within his heart.
You will never guess what the Lord showed me my ‘new job’ was going to be.
“His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:6
We are so very blessed, (no matter what the season we are walking through with the Lord,) to have Jesus, our savior, deliverer, best friend and the true lover of our souls. He is the one who lifts us up into heavenly places within our spirits by His presence alone. I Hope you enjoy this beautiful rendition of a song most of us know…
PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.