<<Poetry Intro>> Untitled 3.5.11 Jessica A. Goolsby The rain falls all over in a rush, How refreshing is that cold rush on me. Reality arrives as a surprise, & at the moment I'm confronted with the truth. I feel it on my skin, on my heart, and for the first time on my mind. Why was I to think I would live in my dreams? So vivid, now long forgotten dreams. The hopeless romantic in me longs for love, passion, a never ending journey. I want to be taken away, where every minute feels like an hour, where every second is full of hope and longing for a life that is fulfilled. <<A RAINY DAY AT THE BEACH CONTINUED>> 17 years old. 2008. Freshly shaven legs, Victoria’s Secret “Love Spell” body spray engaged, “Flip Flop Fantasy” painted on my freshly done pedicure, pre-tanned & bronzed skin from hanging at the pool all summer long, summer enhanced mixed CDs ready to fill the air, a highly sought out bikini carefully chosen as “the one” (after having time to try on fifty), an American Eagle beach bag filled with my tropical beach towel, chips, a cold drink & the most coconutty smelling dark tanning oil Spf 6 you could find. Just daydreaming about drenching my youthful skin with it while laying out for hours & pondering on adult freedom, goals of the future, my freshly broken heart by the one I knew was “the one”, & the boy from Tennessee & his friend that serenaded me with an acoustic version of “Wagon Wheel” at the condos hot tub the night before. 26 years old. 2017. Freshly shaven legs, “Bronzed Goddess” perfume by Estee Lauder covering my pale, unevenly toned skin, a body deprived of Vitamin D as well the tan lines I used to wear, “The Minimalist” Podcast saved on Spotify for when I get a moment to contemplate enhancing my mind & space, unpainted six month overdue un-pedicured feet, my high waist-ed bikini purchased on my Walmart grocery trip at the last second because I did not have time to search for “the one”, Spf 30 with back up Spf 50 in case of a major burn as well as a bottle of coconutty tanning oil I have had for three years that I enjoy spraying for the smell of youth, two economy-sized beach bags, baby bottles as well as four tropical beach towels, two life jackets, two chairs, two umbrellas, a colorful play pin, a cooler full of comfort...aka food and alcohol.., floats, and plastic beach toys. Sitting up and alert, as I watch my husband and four year old anxiously as they play in the red flagged ocean where just minutes ago we had spotted a shark close to shore. For my peace and sanity, I decided to look above the chaos and distraction [the crying baby, the couples walking happily on the beach, the Spanish speaking family that was yelling loudly, "Dos!" about their encounter with the shark we had just seen(they apparently saw two), the girl who looked so peaceful like she came out of a magazine of perfection relaxing in a chair to my far left]. I just looked above it all and there was beautiful blue water for miles, a sky so vast that looked like a soft marble of blue and white swirls of perfection, & while looking above, a scent of coconuts surrounded me [probably sprayed by the model to my left] & an undeniable peace came over me. If you are anything like me, a beach trip just is not the same as it used to be. My family and I just returned back from our four day vacay to the sexy tropical Panama City Beach. The white sand, the green palms, the blue ocean. We are now back to our home in Alabama The Beautiful. Back to my literally back woods neighborhood filled with excitement consisting of the loud barks of the dogs that roam freely up and down my road, and the days where I am alone at home with the kids and their poop. Reality baby at its finest. It rained the first day of our vacay and on and off the whole time we were there. I covered my hot body..ha... in sunscreen as well as my children [11 month old & 4 year old]. If you have children you may know that they hate everything about sunscreen. My four year old Jacob thinks it is a monster in a bottle that burns his eyes on purpose. The peaceful call of the ocean that awaited my soul was silenced by the thunder, torrential rain and lightning. Waiting for the storm to pass, I simply stared out the front window of my husband’s retro family beach house, delightfully adorned with crocheted and cross stitched décor by his beautiful and missed Grandmama and Mama Dorothy. [Pictured is my view at that moment looking out the window.] Have you ever been so excited and worked so hard for something only for it to be delayed. It is like you see a light of relief at the end of a headache tunnel and something gets in your way of peace. God revealed to me in this very moment in my heart that “rainy days” can be consumed in your mind by the enemy or with love and comfort from our relationship with Jesus. We were created intentionally by an amazing & powerful creator to thrive in joy and love no matter the season. This joy is readily available to whoever wants it. Why do we make it so hard on ourselves to attain this peace in all situations? It is like Jesus is screaming to me [Look up! Look at me. I am here for you at all times regardless if they are filled with the pain or joy from the world. I am what your broken and tired heart needs.] I feel like He is saying to me [What you do not know is that this light at the end of the tunnel you covet might only be brief, with a huge tunnel of darkness on the other side of it. This is life my friend. Say it out loud to yourself “This life will never be butterflies and rainbows indefinitely.” There will always be rainy days no matter if you are 17 or 26. Do not put your hope in people or things. It will fail you every time in someway I can promise you that. I am the one your heart needs. Come to me friend for rest and redirection and for a love and peace that transcends all understanding. I love you.] This girl is trying to get closer with the Lord because I am well aware that this is the secret to life and if you want to go even deeper, the “afterlife” as well, otherwise referred to as eternity. I look forward to the day that I meet this true friend who has never let me down. When I had extreme anxiety and threw up everyday when I was fifteen years old, He was there. When I hated myself, He was there. When my marriage struggled, He was there. When my heart broke from evil in the world, He was there. When my dad stepped out of my life and broke my heart, He was there. When I brought my children into this world so scared, He was there. He has never left me. I have made it this far in this thing called life all because of His love. My prayer for us, for you, is that we continue to dig deeper into a friendship with the best of them all. Just imagine meeting this lifelong friend one day. It will happen and I would love for you to experience His love.