Today is my 7th day of a vacation that has been very unique for me - a road trip away from home.
And tomorrow we begin the trek back home again.
It has been a good time and I just want to record some of the highlights
1. Lake Tygart - this year I have found state parks to be pretty great places to visit - often restful and beautiful. I found Lake Tygart online - a West Virginia State park. It was restful - but not actually too beautiful - the Lake - manmade - was shrunk and kind of sad. Wednesday was the beginning of the "big freeze" across the country and we didn't really want to walk. So we rested. There was pretty much NO ONE staying at the lodge which was nice and sort of creepy. But the benefit was that we could eat by ourselves in the dining room and like it was OK to play gin rummy at the same time. So....Lake Tygart was memorable.
2. The driving was another aspect to this whole trip. Chuck and I have a few basic differences - he likes maps and I like mapquest and in a pinch - a GPS. And so we had a few issues along the way - especially when I realized his map was 12 years old and then when we found out that the GPS had the wrong address in it when we were visiting his sister in Richmond. And I won't even try to describe the "conversation" between us driving to Geoff's in Southport NC when I am trying to follow Geoff's directions and he is struggling with his OLD map. Let's just say we both decided that this is why we like cruises so much.
3. We had a wonderful visit with Miranda and Audrey doing the things that I love on vacation - talking, eating and playing games. Unfortunately Audrey has now introduced me to a NEW game - TriviaCrack and it is addictive.
4. It was really interesting to go to church with Audrey at First Christian Church in Lynchburg. Cyd is their brand new minister (this was her 2nd week) and we got to meet her and her husband Ben on Friday night. I found myself thinking back 11 years to coming to Karl Road Christian Church as the new minister - and realizing that in another year someone else will be coming there. It is good for a church to have new leadership and you could see how energized people were with the possibilities that she brings.
5. We then went to Richmond and visited with Chuck's sister Jan and brother Don. They are getting ready for a major move in their life - leaving the house they have lived in for 51 years to go to a retirement community. I remember talking to Don about this 3 years ago and hearing how difficult the decision is. Now the decision has been made and they are beginning the arduous task of discerning what to keep and what to give away and what to throw away. And in this, too, I found myself thinking about the move that is ahead for me in just getting out of my office. You do accumulate STUFF over the years!
6. Monday we made it to Southport North Carolina where Geoff and Vicky now live. And they are so happy in this beautiful place. Married less than 2 years, they have left the northeast to make their first home together and to really be married! Their home is beautiful but what is most heartwarming for me is to hear them talk of their friends, their church, their community involvement already. They are making a life here - a new life and it is good.
And so I write this as I prepare to go home and begin the last weeks of my ministry at Karl Road Christian Church.
I do feel like I have rested and had some time away mentally from what is ahead. And know that endings lead to beginnings - both for me as a minister and for my church. There are goodbyes ahead and cleaning up the loose ends and then there will be some hellos and new experiences beyond my imagining today.
But in the meantime - two days of driving for me and Chuck. Let us hope that the route Chuck and Geoff have come up with is well marked. I don't want to get lost again.