Last Friday night I drove about ninety minutes to attend a dinner gathering for pastor’s wives. I had dutifully printed out Mapquest directions and then, as I am wont to do, added a couple hours to the trip time so that I could engage in some miscellaneous meandering. (Because there are few things worse than going on a solo jaunt and not factoring in that all-important miscellaneous meandering time.)
As it turns out, I was glad I had done so because when I arrived at my destination town, I happened across a most fabulous consignment store. Since bargains are my hobby, I have been to hundreds of consignment/thrift stores; however, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another consignment store as unique or as beautiful as this one.
When I got back in the car, clutching my little bargain, I looked over my directions once more to confirm that I was only 5-10 minutes away from my dinner location. Since I still had another hour free, I drove away from the store intending to do some small town exploring. I had only been meandering miscellaneously for mere moments when I struck gold. I struck gold of the sort that caused me to shout, “Eureka!” It caused me to do the happiest of happy dances. It even caused me to holler hallelujah.
What was the reason for my joy? What was the source of my unmitigated ecstasy?
Simply this. I had stumbled across a fabulous photographic opportunity. An elegant old church. Gorgeous grounds. Intriguing cemetery.
I passed the next hour in something close to bliss. The weather was perfect and the early evening air was clean and cool and still. There were birds making merry and squirrels making tracks along the limbs of towering trees. The real world receded and I was happily alone with my camera and creation—both God’s creation and man’s creations.
When it finally came time to head down the brick path back into the real world, I felt a smallish regretful twinge; the time I had spent in that lovely place was positively Edenic. (Which seems appropriate since the town is called Edenton.)
As I left, I said good-bye to a new squirrel friend . . .
. . . and then I got in the car and began to ponder my printed directions. And then I pondered them some more because directions—and their following thereof—is not my gift. After I had sat for awhile trying to unravel the miscellaneous rambling I had done, I finally put in a call for help to the pastor’s wife who had organized the dinner. When I told her where I was she replied, “Edenton? You’re in Edenton? Hmmmm.” (Hmmmm-ing is not usually a good sign.)
As it turns out, for some inexplicable reason, my directions were instructing me to drive through Edenton and keep on going to some mysterious location on the other side of the town; however, my intended location actually turned out to be ten miles before Edenton and I was never supposed to have gone into the town at all.
But you know what?
As I got my car pointed in the proper direction and drove off to dinner, I was grateful for those (happy) Mapquest misdirections. I was thankful for a lovely, memorable hour so full of serenity and quietude. I was grateful for time alone to amble through beauty and to remember that despite all the ugliness in this world, there still exist places of peace for our hearts.