Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I HAVE COMPLETED something that I had relegated to the bottom of my personal Bucket List as an IMPROBABILITY. It suddenly jumped to the level of a POSSIBILITY....then to a PRIORITY when I discussed it with my four sons at my 90th birthday celebration. I anticipated that the road trip to my hometown would not only give me a great deal of joy, but that God had a purpose for it.

I wanted once more to visit the place of my birth, the place of my roots and heritage in Iowa. And touch my remaining relatives and friends and "hug their necks."

My son Cliff volunteered to drive me and be my companion. He more than fulfilled that huge role! He rented a car, made the most comfortable reservations for our accommodations, and carefully watched over my well-being and all the logistics involved. And he was patient and gracious to sit and listen to conversations with our relatives and friends most of whom were strangers to him but memorable to me. We set off on what turned out to be about 2030 miles RT for our week's journey.

Cliff's GPS gadget got a good workout enabling him to readily locate a total of nearly 50 people on my list to hug in one-on-one visits and sometimes at breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to which we were invited. We enjoyed trips to the countryside, farms, and places of nostalgia where I spent the first 18 years of my life and where I was married.

I really thought that I couldn't possibly cover all the list of people I hoped to see in a few brief days. Nevertheless, I prayed and committed myself to God's GPS=God's Precise Selection, and knew I would connect with exactly the people He had planned. The timing turned out to be so accurate, even to the perfect fall weather in the Heartland and the availability of those I wanted to see. I felt that each encounter was meant to be. Those moments for both of us were not random; we touched one another for some purpose God had in mind. There were some surprise extra folks we met which were more than coincidence.

I was aware that on such an emotional experience I would keenly miss my parents and many relatives and friends who have departed this life in past decades. There were poignant moments. Places of my childhood and growing years have changed until some were nearly unrecognizable. Cedar Rapids, Iowa had experienced a 500 year flood a few years ago which drastically changed the landscape.

The beloved family home where I grew up was a rental house now, but the occupants warmly welcomed us for a memory walk through. Many of the “earth suits” (bodies) of the friends and relatives who remain have grown weathered and weary with the years. I visited the hospital and a half dozen assisted living residences to renew friendships with those who now call it "home."

On the final day of our drive home to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, thank God we navigated safely through drenching rain and dense fog especially through the mountains and valleys. We left behind the sunshine of Iowa with its memories of a happy crossing-out of an important-to-me item on my Bucket List.

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