At the end of October, I shared some pictures from a drive I took with my Dad, my aunt, and my grandparents when I was visiting South Carolina back in September. It's the beginning of December (the warmest and fallest feeling day we've had in weeks) now and I'm ready to share the second and final part of this little series! I've got an hour and my second cup of coffee and a fresh bite from the writing bug, so let's go....
It's been 10 weeks since that rainy day in September when nothing was going right and yet everything was perfect. I think my Dad may have known where he was going all along, but maybe he really was making his mind up as the day wore on. After winding our way through this road and that road, up into the mountains, and in parts of North and South Carolina that none of us had laid eyes on in YEARS, we made it to the spot where we would get our hike in.
Hooker Falls Dam is a spot that my Dad used to take us to. We hiked the trails, rode horses, played in the water (my brother may or may not have had one of his many water related "there he goes" again moments there) and enjoyed countless day trips to these woods. We all piled out of the car armed with the umbrellas that my Grandpa packed (that man is the essence of preparedness) and made our way to the trailhead. It was barely drizzling by now so we were eager to take our time and enjoy this hike we had all set our minds on!
I pulled out my camera right away and started taking pictures of everything that I saw. The falls may be small, but they are peaceful and beautiful. When my Dad first started dabbling in photography he spent some time playing with techniques at this spot. One shot ended up framed and many a lazy summer afternoon was spent staring at that picture which used to hang on my Grandma's stairwell. What I'm trying to say is that I love this spot.
Hiking with my Dad and his parents is one of my favorite things. Everyone is quiet as they take in the scenery. There is ALWAYS something to laugh about and no one is in a hurry. I wonder if hiking these trails will be the same once they are all gone. They truly did teach me MY kind of hiking and I've yet to meet anyone that hikes quite like they do. My Grandma ALWAYS wears flip flops and she ALWAYS keeps up just fine. My Grandpa is the watchdog warning of danger and quick to offer whatever he has in his back pocket for "emergencies" (water? umbrella? an extra hat? snack?). Hiking was a highlight of my summers when I was growing up and looking back I realize how carefree those trips made me feel. Maybe that's what I loved best.
This September Thursday was no different. Everyone had aged about ten years since our last hike. My brother had no idea I was in SC and was experiencing his final day at police academy. My Grandma still wore her flipflops, my Grandpa was still the watchdog, my Dad was close by, and I was as carefree as I was in the days gone by. Hooker Falls Dam's magic was as breathtaking as always.
The rain picked up as we headed to the car. We piled back in one last time and began the drive to the house. The last leg of the trip was the quietest and I'm pretty sure it was because we were all mulling over the day's adventure. I snapped a few more pictures. We pulled over once to take pictures of this horse which proceeded to pose for a few shots and then turn around when he'd had quite enough. We finished off the snacks and drinks my Grandpa packed and before we knew it night was falling and we were home. I went to bed knowing that that day was going to be one of my favorites from the trip.
Ten weeks later, I've realized that that day held a lesson that's going to do me a lot of good in this season I'm in now. The road blocks were MANY and yet there was always another route. Plan A got swapped for Plan B and yet Plan B really was better than Plan A could have ever hoped to be. Making our way past the change ups was memorable...It's still with me 10 weeks later in a special kind of way. The joy that day brought was a result of my willingness to make the most of the day, roadblocks and all.
We've been at the Queen's Cottage for about three months now and I never quite know how to explain things or plan for the future, so life kind of feels like one great big Plan B. And actually, if I'm honest, it feels more like I'm on Plan J by now. The secret to being carefree and embracing that peace that God promises to His people is trusting Him the same way that I trusted my Dad that Thursday in September. It might feel foolish. It might not make sense to me or to those around me. It might not change the world...But when God's people trust Him (and live like it) they are a testimony to the reality of His sovereign grace. The words I've been clinging to over the last five years still ring true today and I'm grateful for another reminder of them.
"The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there...There are rock slides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backwards in order to go forwards. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn't let you see very far ahead there are frequent signs that say, 'The best is yet to come.'" - John Piper