On our recent vacation in San Francisco a long-time way-back-from-college-days dream came true. I think perhaps I had set it aside – not forgotten it – but when it was clear that the day had come to see the fulfillment of that dream I ‘pulled it forward’ in my heart, shared it with my sweetheart and then he shared my joy the moment it was accomplished! My dream? To sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Now, in the big scheme of things – the picture of life – that doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming accomplishment. But it had been an important put-on-hold thing for over forty years! Actually, I didn’t have any idea that it would finally come true on this trip. You see, the way in which it came true wasn’t planned. Not at all! We bought a booklet of tickets - a package-deal - for places to go and things to do in the San Francisco area. It was a bargain. A good deal! Everything was planned. All in place. Until we arrived on the chosen morning to take our tour of Alcatraz. What we found was that there had been a mix-up and we didn’t have reservations or tickets to get on the tour boat going to Alcatraz. We had tickets to go on the Bay Cruise – a cruise I had gone on twice before during my college days. The Bay Cruise tickets that come in the booklet were supposed to be swapped for Alcatraz Tour tickets when I called to make reservations for the Alcatraz Tour. But that had not happened. We were told there was no way we could get on the chosen tour that day or any other day that we were in The City. They were booked too far ahead! Sorry, they said. So, my sweetheart and I walked away toward the Bay Cruise dock. I was very disappointed and upset! As we walked I felt such unrest about the situation that I asked my sweetheart if we could just stop along the seawall and pray together that I would have peace and that our cruise on the Bay would be blessed with joy. We prayed together and I felt a sense of peace fill my heart! As we walked toward the dock to board the boat I began to feel excitement welling up in my heart. We arrived in time for the next boat scheduled to board and leave within a few minutes of our arrival. Perfect timing!
As we stood in line I shared with my sweetheart the dream I had held in my heart since my college years in San Francisco. A group of students had gone on the Bay cruise together. Everyone – except for two of us - stayed inside the cabin to view the sights from the warmth and safety there. But two of us ventured outside to stand right at the ‘point’ of the bow. Not unusual except for the fact that the waters were choppy and the weather threatened to pour rain on us at any moment! And at times the swells of water were so big they splashed up over the bow of the boat and us! Bay Cruise boats go under the Golden Gate Bridge and turn around near where the Bay and the Pacific Ocean meet. As we approached the Bridge that day the Captain announced over the speaker system that the Coast Guard would not allow us to go under the Bridge because of the big swells on the water. It was too dangerous! That day, in my disappointment, I told my friend that someday I would sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. And I knew I would – I just thought it would be sooner than it was! The day my sweetheart and I planned to be on a boat on the Bay was cloudy, threatening rain showers. The day before had been gorgeous – clear skies, sunny, hot! As the boat pulled away from the dock, heavy clouds covered the top of the Bridge. To the north we could see that the clouds were lifting and blue skies were beginning to appear. Soon the north end of the Bridge was free from clouds, showing her golden expanse. But the south end was still touched by clouds.
As we approached the Bridge - closer and closer – I realized that my long-held dream was about to come true. My sweetheart shared my anticipation.
And then we were on the other side – the mission was accomplished! A crowd had gathered on the bow of the boat with us – they were completely unaware, totally oblivious, to what had just happened. A dream had come true! A promise fulfilled! A sweetheart and his wife exchanging smiles and a thumbs up! There we were – on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing it from the west. Looking past it to The City skyline and Alcatraz in the middle of the Bay. And it didn’t matter – not at all – that we weren’t touring the famous island. What mattered was that God had allowed the dream in a young girl’s heart to come true many years later. And He waited for her to share it with the man of her dreams, the love of her life – her sweetheart!
Was the problem with the tickets a mistake? I don’t think so! As we disembarked at the dock and moved on to the rest of our day together in The City my heart was full of gratitude. I had a new sense of how much my Heavenly Father loves me - not because I'm special but because He loves to do special things for His children. And He had taken what seemed like a huge disappointment and turned it into the fulfillment of a dream. And it brought such joy!