The Sandpiper


Within Us
Honesty and Integrity
The Butterfly Dance
Beginning Today
Moving The Rock
A Comfortable Silence
At The Window
The Wealthiest Man
Three Trees
Stress Therapy
Let Go
Driving Away The Shadows
I Know Who I Am
The Necklace
To Realize
Standing Still
The Balance Sheet of Life
A Life That Matters
The Good Bye Kiss
The Story of Your Life
Eternal Instants
Slow dance
The Piano Lesson
Your Fence
The Bicycle Ride
The Atheist's Holiday
How Do YOU Walk?
Exercise Your Soul
Make him take his bags
I Am Thankful
The Art of Letting Go
My Quilt
A Penny Blessing
Buzzards, Bats, and Bumblebees
Are You Empty Yet?
Living By Faith
The Living Water
Installing Love
If Only
God Said....................
God Will Provide
The Pillar of Love
Alone I Am Nothing
The Greatest Love Song
We Danced
The Thorn Bouquet
Let It Go!
Have Courage
The Sandpiper
A Survival Kit
And Think Of Me
Don't be afraid to speak out
The Guiding Light
What are you building?
An Old Shoebox
What Friends Do
Mr. Belser
Time - Your Greatest Gift
Peace Garden
Roots of Change
Morning Prayer
Don't Open Your Mouth
Blue Ribbons
My Heart
Never Give Up On Love
Shining Light
Do You?
Weather Changes
Just For Today
Somebody Said
I Hope by Paul Harvey
Push On
Refining Silver
My Cup
The Cleaning Lady
Loving God's Way
Overcoming A Broken Heart
Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee Beans
What's Left?
The Rented Room
When I Am Lonely
Serving Where God Places Us
Running Through The Rain
Clay Balls
God Is
The Smell of Rain
The Oak Tree
Learning From Fear
The Heart of the Soul
The Emperor
Touching Billy
Dusty Shoes
Between You and God
A Brick
The Shadow of Your Cross
Angels Among Us
The Wolves Within
When Jesus Looks
The Father
The Empty Chair
God Gave.................
Christmas Roses
God Knows
A Mother's Tear
A Walk To School

The Sandpiper
by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me.

She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea."Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
  "I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring. "Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
 "It's a what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
 "Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."
 "Hi, Wendy." She giggled.
 "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

A few days of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and
an ailing mother passed. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance. 
"I don't know, you say."
 "How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that
"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where
do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.
Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home."Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked.
I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and--oh, go away!"
"Did it hurt?" she inquired.
 "Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there.. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her,  I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that  I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath
"She loved this beach so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you ... if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird.Underneath was carefully printed:

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words --one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand -- -------
who taught me the gift of love.



NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever.

It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to
enjoy living and life and each other.