The long road home . . . Part 1
For the upcoming weeks, I am planning two series of writings about things near and dear to my heart. This week will be about the adventure I took going back to Florida to help with the services for my Nannie (my maternal grandmother). As a Christian, I did not go to say good-bye; I went to remember the amazing times and to say “I’ll see you soon”. This travel blog will be about the things I learned about myself and the revelations that God had in store for me as well as remembrances of my Nannie.
Many know that I love a good bargain, and some know that I have a general aversion to flying solo. So when the news of my Nannie’s passing arrived I wasn’t sure what to do. I will be honest and say that my Nannie (whom I love and adore) had hoarding issues. My quandary was to attend the services or to come at a later time to help with the clean-up (which I knew would be needed). After hearing the sadness in my mom’s voice, I knew I needed to go for the services to support her.
Thus I found myself traveling by Amtrak (which I have always enjoyed) leaving my home at 4 AM in order to board on time. Right away in the depot, I met a delightful new friend who became my travelling partner on the first leg of the trip. While awaiting the train’s arrival, we settled in on the vintage railroad benches in the original depot in Red Wing, MN, introducing ourselves. It was an instantaneous liking that I am often blessed to find in my life.
She was travelling for business and was a first-time rail passenger with my journey more somber as a seasoned Amtrak customer. We found seats near each other, and we watched each other’s items as one or the other of us walked about the train. She settled in working on Christmas cards, and I settled in and slept (not having done so much for the week prior while fretting about my Nannie). Later during one of our visits, we discovered our mutual love of our dogs – both being the proud mommas of goldens and our mutual love of all natural foods.
She was simply a gift as my long journey home had just begun. We made plans to perhaps go out for dinner in Chicago, but due to a late arrival and my choice to upgrade to first class sleeping accommodations, it just didn’t work out. We exchanged information and her Christmas card (so sweet), and we said our good-byes. It was a few moments later that God’s first revelation on this trip hit me.
A week before I left I had seen a sweet little story about childhood friends reconnecting over Facebook after many years. I spent a couple afternoons looking for my elementary best buddy, Teresa. We were inseparable but lost contact when my family moved away. My searches were fruitless, and that left me sad lamenting about the old saying that some people come into our lives for brief moment while others last a lifetime. I am certain my enhanced melancholy had more to do with trying to keep my mind busy while my Nannie was lingering in the hospital.
As I watched my friend ride the escalator up out of the belly of Union Station, God revealed to me that He did answer my searches . . . just not the way I was expecting. My new friend that He provided to usher me along the start of the journey was named – Theresa! With a few tears came the recognition of a reaped blessing through a prayer answered in God’s perfect way!