I could have titled this “What I Learned on my Vacation”, but let’s stick with “Selfies” for now. I was invited on a road trip with five other women to hike to the top of Crazy Horse Monument (more on Part 2 later). This event is open only twice a year due to blasting and construction.
While I seldom take off more than a day or two at a time, this 5-day journey intrigued me, because all of us had experienced loss in one form or another, and even though the original five had done similar treks together, when I agreed I was welcomed with open arms.
God put everything into perspective with my devotion the night before: “Shared Joy is Double Joy”. The bible verse highlighted Ecclesiastes 4:9 (one of my favorites); “Two are better than one for they have a good return for their labor.” The author continued “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow. The secret of survival is not simply enjoying life’s joys and enduring the sorrows, it is sharing both with others.
Then my trip; invitation followed by anticipation. One woman loved to drive (she had the large Tahoe). Another from South Dakota excelled at planning and organizing. The rest of us pitched in with whatever task was needed. Because a common factor among us was a loss in our individual lives, struggles were shared, tears flowed, laughter erupted, hugs were given and memories made.
What an opportunity God gave so we could each learn from our varied personalities and individual journeys. Along the trip we encountered other travelers recording their highlights in photos – usually “selfies”. I realize if you are single this allows you to capture the place, the view, the experience, but many of us commented is was so easy to ask a fellow vacationer, “Would you take our picture?” All gladly complied, opening a conversation “What is your name? Where are you from? What’s next on your stop?”
We did that countless times with Linda in Hillsdale, a walking Chamber of Commerce for the little town; Peggy in a boutique who was from Central City, NE; we discovered Carol and Lorene; Aaron (behind register 2 at a small grocery), Diane and Doug during a wine tasting who shared their recent move from California; then Kim, Debbie, add another Carol, Amanda, Michael – all first names to learn to meet to share.
The trip was multiplied simply by a thank you with a smile and a handshake repeating names and exploring the next leg of the journey. It would be so easy to take in these encounters, the views and mountain top hikes, the expanse of stars on a blue-blanket night and thank God for it. But our Creator in His wisdom who shaped us individually, designed for connections and relationships – a group of women interacting with those we met.
I learned much from these ladies, their roots, values, faith, dreams and skills – so I acquired objectivity and together we braved situations, softened our intolerance, gained another opinion, which by the technical world today would be termed “input”.
I close with the final words of my beginning devotion: “Lord, remind me it is better not to work or live life all alone. It is better not to minister all alone. It is better to have someone alongside in the battle.” C. Swindoll said it best in reference to Marines digging foxholes. “Dig In” – not just for you, but dig a hole large enough for two.
Blessing as you observe, learn and share together. Doneta