For the last 12 years, our little group has vacationed in St. John...often extending our stays just a day longer each year. We have rented a jeep and driven on the left hand side of the road up a goat path to get to one of the first homes built on the island…la Jolla Caribe. The view from La Jollais the prettiest view of the entire island. I’ve sat on the deck many times drinking coffee as the morning rolls in. Before too much daylight has burned, we've been in the water – swimming, snorkeling, and at the end of the day, noodling around Leinster Bay. At night, we watched stars shoot across the sky and listened to the night sounds which cannot be adequately described. We ate meals around the dining table, played friendly games of Pictionary and competitive games of Scrabble around the table, and worked jigsaw puzzles around the table. I ran into a glass door at the house – so hard that I fell backwards and thought I might have given myself black eyes! Then, I laughed so hard that I thought unmentionable things might happen. My mother accidentally cut a lizard in half with her glass door. We stayed in the same house adding to our memories year after year. As you can imagine, with each return, we often began our conversations with “Do you remember when?”
We did not personally know the owners of La Jolla, but during the 12 years we visited, we watched their children grow up in the photographs that were placed around the house. We saw them as little children posing on the deck all the way to grown children getting married on the beach. So, while we did not REALLY know the family, we felt like we did. We really felt like their house was a little bit ours, and we always left detailed – and sometimes rhyming – entries in their guest book.
Well, this is what the house looks like now. I am sad about that. Really sad. La Jolla Caribe was a place I felt particularly close to God and particularly safe. Now, it is in ruins. Even the trees have lost their green. I've heard that the island is not safe right now because of crime. Desperation can compel people to do almost anything.
So, the place that was my sacred refuge is, well, for all intents and purposes, gone. I hope this special island finds the resilience to rebuild. I hope that while the houses are crushed, maybe a few spirits are strong and already mobilizing and planning a comeback. And, speaking of a comeback, I hope my feet make it back to St. John one day. No, I hope they make it back soon.