Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012

Fourteen miles from St. Augustine, Florida:

A warm, sweet-smelling breeze rolled across the old wooden boardwalk, and a heart-swelling thrill of anticipation filled my spirit as I started off on the path. I had waited years for this moment. I felt it was what I was meant to do. I read Scripture readings in French, a silent almost-chant as I walked along with great purpose. As I walked along, I went further into the wilds of Florida. The path meandered left and right but was surprisingly easy to follow. The weather was pleasant, with a soft breeze breaking up the forecast of sunburn. 

Boardwalk trail leading to the site of the Matanzas massacre of 1565

As I drew closer to the Matanzas massacre markers, I felt led to them. I knew when I would round the next corner and see the site I had dreamed of visiting ever since I first heard the story of the Huguenot martyrs. And there they were. It was a surreal feeling to see those elusive markers face-to-face, to stand where I had only seen strangers’ photos. I closed my eyes. It was a lonely, windswept place, full of overhanging fauna, accented by palmettos, shut out from the world in the midst of the Matanzas nature trail.

"The Massacre at Matanzas," marker along the Fort Matanzas nature trail

I spoke the Lord’s Prayer in French. Slowly. Silently. Purposefully. Then I took out a small black-and-silver cross I had purchased just for the occasion. I said a silent benediction over the cross. When I finally left the markers, the cross remained behind. Just to the right of the markers was a platform that eased out across smooth white sand dunes and the inlet beyond. This was the spot. This was where over two hundred men were massacred for their Protestant beliefs and French nationality. I felt overwhelmed. It was as if the crime had been done against me, against my ancestors, against my fellow believers. I even scanned the sand to see if any splash of redness might remain. Physically, no. But emotionally, the entire place buzzed with the essence of something left behind.

I may have left Matanzas. But Matanzas will never leave me.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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