Milly and team left summer behind heading into cooler weather and glorious God kissed color. Well…not so much color.
Aw shucks. The color is late this year. The leaves are just starting to turn. Am I disappointed? In a word, yes. But I am determined to be positive. Let me tell you why, I learned a valuable short and sweet lesson on my trip up to the high country. Because of this lesson I am depending on my inner cheerleader to keep my spirits in check and looking up.
When we travel to the northwest corner of North Carolina, we usually stay over one night in Columbia, South Carolina. The stay is mostly for safety but also, in my case, for pain management. The GPS states it’s a 12 hour drive. However, if you factor meals, gas, traffic, and the all-important restroom stops, driving straight through really takes 14 to 17 hours.
We were concerned about even finding a room with all the storm evacuees. Our plan B was to drive straight through. My husband worried I would be in severe pain when we finally got to our destination. I worried that my husband would be driving winding mountain roads in the middle of the night with a cranky wife!
We stopped at my husband’s favorite motel. It’s nothing fancy but it’s clean and reasonably priced. I’d tried to reserve the room on my phone but, it failed to make the reservation. When we got there we had to wait in a line but the manager assured us there were rooms. Whew. While waiting a gentleman came in behind us, he was friendly and cheerful as he said hello. His smile was so welcoming it encouraged me to chat with him while my husband waited in line.
I explained we were on our way to a working vacation. He described how he had evacuated from coastal South Carolina to Georgia because of Hurricane Matthew. He had returned today only to be turned away because of flooding. He was also looking for a room for his kids and wife before they would try to return to their home the next morning. He was very matter-of-fact and accepting of the situation. We talked about kids and family and storms while the manager worked efficiently through the line. This man was cheerful, caring and amazingly patient through the wait.
I thought about him Sunday evening, thankful for my room for the night. I said a short prayer for him and his family. I prayed for his home and the trials awaiting him when he returns. I’ve had to clean-up after hurricanes. Even minor clean-ups are not easy. I just wanted them to be okay. BUT Oh No! God was not done yet! We drove up yesterday and seeing all the green leaves as we rode further north, I had to admit I was disappointed. Then we got busy with prepping the house and determining the repairs we needed to make.
I woke early this morning with this man and his family on my mind. I don’t know them or even their names. His acceptance and demeanor made me pause to think. He was not dejected or defeated. He was taking care of his family the best he knew how. He was not worried or anticipating what lay ahead. He was living in the moment.
I started the coffee turned, and looked out the big windows. I was struck dumbfounded. Past the porch, the river and mountain were shrouded in mist and fog. Dear Lord it was beautiful. As many times as we have visited in 27 years of marriage I don’t recall ever seeing the New River look so beautiful.
If I had not followed the path I took this week, I would not have seen the beauty beyond the leaves. Like this man I met, it’s not what I wanted but, it’s what I’m living right now. This family man blessed me more than he will ever I know. I am blessed. I was blessed by the gentleman’s attitude on Sunday night and I am blessed by nature this morning.
I am working to bless others through my attitudes and actions (Easier said than done! Fer Sure!). Today I am thankful for the lesson learned. Blessings,