Last week, Dianne and I travelled to Virginia to spend a day in the Shenandoah National Park and visiting our daughter Julia at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. It was a great trip and very relaxing. We drove first to Winchester, Virginia which is on the north end of Shenandoah National Park and had supper and spent the night. It had been raining from eastern Ohio to Virginia so we could not see the scenery very well. It looked like a beautiful drive as we drove alongside the Ohio River for about 50 miles but the fog, rain, spray from trucks did not allow us to see much.
The next day, that we planned to drive the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, dawned clear and bright. The 109 miles of this famous highway was outstanding. We stopped at many overlooks to see the beautiful valley below. Unfortunately, it seemed as if the leaves had not begun to fully turn yet but the views were outstanding none the less. We took a couple of hikes that were suggested. The first one was to a rocky overlook with a sheer cliff and amazing view. The second hike was to a waterfall. It was over a mile walking down hill to the top of the falls which were far from any motorized form of travel. We continued our walk to the bottom of the falls and got many different perspectives of the water rushing through rocky crevices and over cliffs. Fortunately, there was significant rainfall in the area the week before so the falls were full. It was a great day relaxing with each other and being close to God’s wonderful creation that we often take for granted.
After this very re-creative day out of doors, I wondered why I don’t make the great outdoors a more regular part of my life. It is true that the scenery in NW Ohio is not quite the same as the mountains of Virginia, but there are many beautiful spots to enjoy. It is so easy to get stuck in my office feeling like I don’t have time for that re-creation that can only take place out of doors.
The rest of our time was spent around Harrisonburg where Julia attends college at Eastern Mennonite University. It was good to eat with her in the “caf” for “Burger Friday” and eat at a couple of unique restaurants by the square in down town. It was also good to meet some of Julia’s friends and see what her “home away from home” is like.
On Sunday morning we attended worship at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church where Craig Maven is pastor. Craig and I had worked together at First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana for over six years before both of us received calls to other pastorates. It was good to hear someone else preach as that is a rare occasion for me since I preach almost every Sunday. It was especially good to hear Craig preach again as I always greatly appreciated his preaching as senior pastor at Berne.
It is certainly good to be away but it is also good to be back home in the community and congregation that we have grown to love and know we have the care and support of brothers and sisters in Christ here in Pandora.