Monday, June 23, 2008

Under Our Umbrella

My husband and I were at St. Simon's Island last week just hanging out on the beach when a little lady about 4 foot tall and a size 0 came up with her twins. As her children went to play in the water she began to make herself at home under our umbrella telling us that in her country (Vietnam) if you had too much sun you were considered a farm girl and you would be looked down on. We began to talk with her and before we knew it two hours had passed by. She was an amazing lady with an awesome story. When she was 16 her mother took her to a ship that would smuggle her out of Vietnam and take her to America. With one apple that was suppose to last her a week and little else she was one of about 120 refugees in the compartment of a ship that was built for no more than 20. It would be 10 years before she would see her mother again. She went on to share her story of determination and perseverance to make a life for herself in America. As her story had seemed to consume me it was as if someone had leaned down and whispered in my ear "ask her about the cancer." I could not believe it as she pulled up her shirt revealing a fading but visible scar from what had been stomach cancer surgery. Even after all of the tragedy and triumph she had shared it was not until she talked about surviving cancer that she began to cry. In fact, we all cried. This lady had such insight and was so strong yet she told us that if it had not been for God that she would never had made it. I will never forget those couple of hours. My husband says that one day we will know why we were suppose to meet her, but I think I already know -
and it all happened under our umbrella.