I’ve had several people contact me and say that they have tried, unsuccessfully, to comment on this blog. I stumbled around until I found the right block to check (I think) to allow people without blogs to comment. Please feel free – I would love to hear from you!
The cabin at Lakepoint was perfect. Two bedrooms, with a large living room and kitchen, with a large back porch. Sara brought in the camping percolator, because the little tiny one in the kitchen only made two cups. We made two pots and sat on the porch and talked.
They had a good buffet at the lodge. There were literally hundreds of Gold Wing riders, in the parking lot, in the hotel and in the restaurant. We saw Dewey and Jan as we were finishing breakfast. He told me that there was a large crowd gathered around the Model A. When we got outside, there were more people interested in the VW than the A. It took a few minutes to get out of the parking lot, because folks had so many questions, or wanted to tell stories about their cars.
About 10 miles out, we stopped for gas. Steve and Debbie headed back to Hueytown, and we headed across the river into Georgia. We really had no business there, we just wanted to be able to say we had been in all of the adjoining states. After returning to Alabama, we turned north toward Opelika. Lunch was in an Irish Pub along Railroad Avenue. I plugged in the address of our next destination into the GPS, and selected “shortest route”.
We followed the old highway out of town, following the route specified. A half mile out, we were directed down a side road, and within a mile we came to a sign that said “Pavement Ends”. We traveled the next five or six miles through some beautiful farm country rarely seen by the public. Too many times I have selected “quickest route”.
We arrived at the home of Dale and Jane Ellen, old friends from when we lived in Birmingham. Well, they aren’t really old, but they have been our friends for a long time. We hadn't seen them for several years, and except for their daughters being all grown up, it was if we picked up exactly where we left off the last time we saw them.
Dale had been a friend when I needed one most. I had been going through some very rough times in my life. I was still a police officer, working an extra job and going to school full time. I was trying to be a good father to my three kids and a good husband to my wife. On top of all of that, I was struggling with exactly where I fit into the grand scheme of things. I wasn’t exactly doing a good job at any of them. I had a lot of questions, and Dale had to have the answers. After all, he had post graduate degrees in theology.
I remember asking a question (I don’t remember what the question was, now) but I do remember Dale’s answer: “I don’t know, and it doesn't matter anyway”. He went on to explain that there are things that must be accepted on faith, and that God would work out the details. That conversation was a turning point in my life. I understood, really understood for the first time, that I was a sinner and was not capable of doing anything on my own that would make me good enough to be acceptable to God. But Jesus had already paid the price required of me, and all I had to do was accept that, and God would work out all of the details. Because of that acceptance, that profession of faith, I entered into a relationship that had always been available to me, but I had rejected, because I thought I needed to be in control of every aspect of my life. God has been faithful, even when I haven’t. I can tell you that He keeps his promises.
Dale’s wife, Jane Ellen, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given four or five months to live. I listened last night as the two of them described the emotions of being told that she would never live to see any of her five children married and have kids of their own. She told me that she did not understand God’s plan in all of this, but knew he had a plan, and if she would surrender it all to him, he would work out all of the details. After that surrender, she said she had a peace about it, and knew God was big enough to deal with even this.
Jane Ellen found another doctor that was able to treat the cancer with surgery, radiation and chemo. Today, two years later, she is cancer free. Her story helped me to deal with my own recent diagnosis of cancer. I have been through some of the same emotions that she has, and I have decided that God will work out the details.
We can’t always know, and we don’t necessarily need to know what is around every bend in order to enjoy a trip, or for that matter, life. What is important to know, for me at least, is that the God that created the universe has a plan even for me. I don’t know what that plan is right now, but I know He is capable of working out the details.
Today’s mileage: 92 on pavement, 6 on dirt, and a great trip down memory lane and into the future with some very special friends.