Ever since my divine encounter with Alan at the beach several months ago, I’d wondered what had happened in his life since our conversation.
(The full story of Alan . . . Man at the Sea)
In June, my nephew Casey, great niece Piper and I enjoyed an overnight stay at the same beach where I’d met Alan. After waving goodbye as they headed home to South Carolina, I walked to my car. But I wasn’t thinking about driving home; I was focused on trying to find Alan.
As I wound through the back roads, I prayed, “You are God so you know exactly where Alan is today. Please lead me to him.”
God’s plan of precision began to unfold. My turns were only guesses as I passed by high-rise hotels and looked for a lower white building I remembered seeing behind Alan when we talked on the beach. Searching for the public steps he may have taken, I saw a nearby parking lot—but those slots were private. Spotting a service truck parked in a grassy area on a side road, I pulled in beside the vehicle and jumped out. Realizing my bumper stuck out slightly into the road, I got back in and pulled the car up a bit.
Satisfied, I reached for my book to give Alan, if I found him. I wandered toward the parking lot near the beach. As I crossed the street, I came face to face with a tall, thin women holding her dog and obviously headed for the beach, too. I hesitated, but she motioned for me to walk ahead of her.
As soon as I took a step forward, I heard, “What book are you reading?”
I stopped, turned around, and held up the book. “This happens to be something I wrote.”
She looked at the title and sub-title, gasped, and threw her arms around my neck.
Stunned, but wanting to acknowledge her obvious trauma, I said, “You have faced rejection, too.”
“All my life.”
I confided I had felt rejected during my growing up years. After we learned each other’s names, the story of Teresa’s sad life experiences tumbled out of her mouth. She mentioned being part of an Alcoholics Anonymous group. Could it be?
“Teresa, the reason I’m carrying this book, is I met a man named Alan on the beach several months ago. We talked about rejection and he wanted to read my book. If I find him I want to give him this copy. He said he’s part of an AA group here. Do you happen to know him?”
“He lives up the street and attends often. Our group meets tonight so he may be there.”
In disbelief, I handed her the book. “Would you give this to him?”
Not wanting our conversation to end, Teresa suggested we move to the shady area so her little dog, Maxie, wouldn’t have to stand on the hot concrete.
Like friends who’d known each other a long time, we lowered ourselves on to the inviting green grass and continued our story telling. We realized the differences in our experiences, yet the complete understanding we shared created a bond.
In spite of all the trauma she’d endured, Teresa had set her sights on a two-year degree in social work. She is working against enormous odds, but her unfailing belief and trust in God since the age of 31 will undoubtedly fortify her as she moves toward discovering God’s eternal plan. Her passion is to help others know they are not alone.
God merged three lives into one beautiful story. Teresa helped me find out where Alan was, and I listened to Teresa’s hurts and reinforced her hope in God for a better life.
“Teresa, we have to take some pictures.” We laughed and hugged, and made sure that one picture included her sweet, compliant dog Maxie. After all, he was the reason she was heading to the beach at that divine moment in time.
We exchanged cell phones and emails so we could keep in touch. As soon as I arrived home, I texted a handful of pictures.
Joy bubbled up inside me when I read Teresa’s response. “You blessed me today…God with skin.”
But my story doesn’t end there. In subsequent texts from Teresa, I learned that Alan was out of town for the summer. Finally he returned, and Teresa told me, “I gave Alan the book and he was pleasantly surprised.”
I can only imagine his expression when she handed him my book and related the story of how Teresa and I found each other. Another loving touch from God that I hope Alan will receive as proof of how much God loves him.