This is the sign that you see as you drive into the gates of Camp Pendleton.I had decided that it was important to go there as soon as we chose to make San Diego our vacation destination this year. Two years ago, my Dad and I were talking about taking a trip to San Diego. He was itching to go back. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton while he served in the Marines. He fell in love with it there. He moved back to Arkansas when he was finished with the Marines, but San Diego and Camp Pendleton always held a special place in his heart. He would tell me stories of being in boot camp, the clean ones, and going to the beach, going to the crab shacks, just everything. I loved watching his face and his eyes when he talked about it. He was transported back to that happy time, albeit one of the most physically demanding and brutal times, in his life. We made plans to go. We talked about going to so many places that he remembered, taking the harbor cruise, deep sea fishing.
We had Plans.
But, Heavenly Father had different plans. Still really need some clarity on the "why's" of that.
It was important for me to go.
I had to go.
I was going.
As you pull up to the base, it funnels you into the different groups.
We were in the visitor group and stopped to speak with the on-duty Marine that was in charge of our lane. That pretty much did it.
I was starting on my emotional roller coaster.
Seeing this man in his fatigues, with his buzz cut, and his proper manners, sent my mind's eye to the photo I have of my dad while he was in the Marines.
He was thin, best shape of his life, and sporting his High and Tight. Handsome. I see my eyes when I see that photo. He always said it was like looking in a mirror when he looked at me. Hopefully he wasn't hinting that I, too, had a 5 o'clock shadow.
We drove through the gates and started driving through their little Camp Pendleton town. It was amazing. I was seeing things that my dad saw. I could almost feel him with us as we drove. The kids were stone silent. They were watching the Marines, their families, and everything else all around them, but they never asked a question and they never said a word. For whatever reason, the veil felt very thin to me there in the van as we drove. I spoke to my dad in my mind and it helped.
We drove around a bit more and then popped out at Oceanside. My dad hung out there on the beach a lot. We drove down and that was the first time the kids saw the ocean. It was almost magical. They were elated. The long drive had finally paid off!
We. Were. Here!
There weren't very many people on the beach that day, despite the perfect day. The kids ran into the ocean, dove into the sand, and chased the seagulls.
This was my time to sit, watch the ocean, reflect, remember, and speak to my Dad, and my Father in Heaven. What a blessing I had been given! We stayed in Oceanside for the rest of that day exploring, playing, and watching.
I was in awe.
|This is the sign you see as you leave. I totally missed the beautiful sign that they had at the entrance because||of my fixation on the Marine.|