You really would think that this time in my life just a little caution would take first place in my decisions or lack of them. I am totally amazed by the bravado (and maybe a touch of ignorance) with which I live my life, God does protect. This past summer I took two trips,this traveling in itself was not a brave thing but it was rare without my husband. I did have his blessing,in truth I’m sure he enjoyed a little relief. I traveled with groups of, supposedly sedate, dignified, semi-elderly (or so) women. On one trip, a spiritual bible study and retreat, our ages totaled right at 563 years, talk about your wisdom and depth of maturity.
So wisely we roamed the mountains of N. C. thinking we could defeat the trails, we made it all the way to our goal, a beautiful chapel in the deep woods, but half of us couldn’t hike back, the braver macho gals, with a great deal of ballyhoo, hoofed it up the mountain edge and through the woods back to the lodge. They had plenty of time to recoup, get their breath, lose the red in their faces and take a nap before we finally sheepishly returned.
As the sun was lowering itself behind one great ridge, the newest retiree, answered our prayers and had managed the 3-mile vertical trek up the roadway, which led the back to rest, comfort, safety and gourmet dining experiences. We waited, impatiently, loudly, but cheerfully, ever on the lookout for native creatures. One of the lodge workers drove slowly by. She may have thought we were “being” in the spirit, but I think our frantic waves, and stomping feet, not to mention two of us (the more immodest) were sitting behind the rock wall down in a gully yelling their heads off. It may have sacred her; ruckus voices echoing through the valley giving her thoughts of big-foot or mamma black bear, anyway it was “burn rubber baby”. She left us to our fate. We sang, yodeled, and pled but none other came by. We were often shushed by one of our members who had been in this area often, and was afraid someone, on top of the mountain, (oh yeah) would hear us and recognize our voices and she wouldn’t be welcome again; we were sorry for her plight but pitied ourselves more. Just at twilight we were rescued by our church van and the exhausted, hiker, driver was our hero. We did make it back for our gourmet meal that evening! This only a sampling of our trip, I may release more someday but I am not sure.
As for the second trip, this truly was a labor of love. This group of (some of the same women) dignified and refined semi-elderly women traveled to the mountains of KY. to work at a Baptist school for the mountain children who lived on campus and near-by. There was so much beauty we could hardly take it in, and never could fully explain it, the school campus was breathtaking, the valley mist,and the tall standing trees were brilliant in the sun. We were well behaved and we worked hard and we rested hardly. We toured the area with a teacher guide, and visited in his home. There were many tempting back roads, we avoided them; the exciting thoughts of ducking bullets at our rather advanced age, was not an option for the arthritic among us (all). Things other than what God had put there on purpose were growing behind the rocks and hills.
We ( some of us, well all but me) crossed a little river on a swinging bridge and had many more wonderful experiences. We shared our fantastic house with a visiting parent from Nigeria, we considered her a princess, and God greatly blessed.
A seemingly a mild calm trip right? Well at this time I just cannot disclose two rather exciting occurrences, maybe later, when several people have passed on and
are dwelling happily in heaven. Though I think I can give you some clues, we experienced a wonderful period of Christian bonding, while just letting worldly things run on.... We also found that often the greatest blessings can be had when the road of life throws you a curve and you take it, the start and the end may be the predictable, "But the middle?", well that is what makes life worth living!
I am planning to take more of these trips in the future with my dear church friends. My husband and I will take our own trips or go with the Young at Heart group. My ladies and I? Well, our trips are “of another kind” but blessed, always blessed.