Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Armchair Travel

You don't see a lot of these types of signs in Houston but they are ubiquitous here. Maybe more curves displayed on the signs, depending how high you are in the mountains. There are a couple of these kinds of turns and curves coming home from Weaverville and as many times as I have driven that road, the curvy part many times it still takes me by surprise. It happens to be the spot where last year someone tried to involve me in a fender bender for insurance money. Thankfully, I did not hit them and the set up "witness" was rather surprised while declaring I saw everything when there was nothing to see. Truthfully, that day I was distracted because I had to go home and call APS as my father had filed another fraudulent report with them.

When I was at Barnes and Noble on Monday I spent some time in the travel essay section. I love a good travel book and this one I bought is really close to my thoughts because although I love to read about travel and like travel accouterments, I hate traveling. Flying is not my best thing and now it is even more complicated with a monitor in my chest and a new hip hop. I'm a mood person so I can't really pack because I have no clue what mood I will be in while vacationing or traveling. I have gotten better but not good enough yet for one suitcase checked way under the weight limit. The other limit on traveling is the pressure to see everything and exhausting yourself trying to do just that. If I was wealthy, I would go back to see Israel with a small group that only sees a few things a day which gives the time to take in what you have seen, experienced and to put that into a spiritual perspective. People say many times how they can't wait to go back to the Holy Land and are taken aback when I say well, I want to go when it is the New Jerusalem. Anyway, this book I bought is how to talk about places you've never traveled to with great knowledge. He has also written a book on how to discuss books that you should have read but never did in conversations.

While driving around these back roads you come across old abandoned general stores that served a purpose back in the day. There are still some in operation and although the outside of the store looks like the past usually the inside of a store is everything present day. The displays, the coolers.... You can find stores that look old on the outside and the inside is more like a parody of back in the day. All kinds of penny candy, drinks in glass bottles, Watkins products...but you know it is a tourist thing to give the feeling and one can usually purchase a t-shirt to commemorate the experience. I like the Mast General Store in Waynesville the best. Old wooden floors and creaking staircase, a bit of the past but more of the present. Seeing these stores reminds me of the one that was on the corner of my grandparents street. My grandmother called it the junk store because we, cousins and my brother, would go there, buy candy which translated to junk in my grandmother's view. It was one of those old stores with a cola ad painted on the outside and the inside seemed a little dark but the penny candy was fully in light and available for purchase. Going to that corner store gave me the feeling of being grown up since it was so close and allowed for us to go to the store without adult supervision. Thinking about these disappearing treasures replaced by convenience stores  with gas pumps made me think how some of us old treasures appear. Some of us look old on the outside but our insides are modern and somewhat up to date with computers, social media and technology. There are those of us that are just parodies old on the outside but clinging to the past that doesn't seem genuine but practiced. Then there are those of us who are out and out old both on the inside and the outside. How we perceive these things are kind of like how things are being perceived now in the public and media. Coach Mike Ditka is replaced from the Sunday sports desk...he is old school with new school tenancies but as he gets older, old school is coming out more. Coach K of Duke getting recent press of a conversation he had with an opposing player after a Duke loss...which he denied then CBS provided proof and the story changed somewhat. There are calls for him to retire, to give analysis on TV for college games. Some are saying he is past his prime, others not quite ready to join the bandwagon. But you can see the turn in them and they have to decide to stay present, become a parody of themselves and what they meant or are they going to become old fuddy duddies?  I know this is such a random thought when this post started out about travel or really about travel from an armchair in the comfort of your home. I saw this play out while on staff at a church. Sometimes you don't fit the look but your insides made up for not having the right appearance. There were some who were hopelessly not able to make the transition and they had to decide whether to go out on their terms or if they would let it play out until a decision was made. Both sides have merit and of the particular people I am thinking about...they made the right choices for their lives. When I had to leave because of health issues, I think I was on the cusp of facing that critical decision too. Thankfully, I had taken the time before a critical stage to have an exit strategy that went right into practice. Yes, have a mission statement kiddos but also have a disaster recovery plan. You only hear about mission statements in church. We were reminiscing last week about life and the things we look forward to and the things we are glad we don't have to do anymore. It made me think of working and I told  Roy the other day that when I was on staff and a particular event was moved from our ministry to another one there, I was ecstatic not to have to deal with it anymore but that move probably was handwriting on the wall that we didn't recognize at the time. Actually, we still had a small part in it once it officially left us but it was mainly taking care of the logistics and the footwork, all the other things like presentation, voice and branding went to the other ministry area. Truthfully, it really belonged with the other ministry since they were really good at this,they had more to do with the worship aspect and all things concerning the worship center but I think my boss liked the creative part of the event and during the interim period, he was the most creative one on staff.  Guess we had become kind of like the general store that is a parody of itself...we needed change, fresh eyes and younger thoughts to a traditional celebration in church life.

Today I guess you could say I traveled on the bunny trails and sometimes those are better than the actual thought. Although, sometimes not. So from a bunny trail in the mountains I wish all a good day and maybe I will stay on point on another blog post on another day...then there is that chance...maybe not.

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