Saturday, October 24, 2009

Standing by the Cave

The weekend after the Smokies, Steve and I enjoyed a Fall Foliage weekend in northeast Ohio. We went to our closest national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Akron. The color was fabulous--the perfect weekend to be there. We stayed in the park at the Inn at Brandwine Falls, which I highly recommend.

We had planned to go to New England and I thought I'd bought Delta tickets. But when I tried to get our boarding passes to Boston, behold! We didn't have any tickets listed except to Key West in February. So we went to Ohio instead. But here are some really good things about not having the tickets, showing that God was way ahead of us:

1) It snowed in Boston and around there and it would have been a winter trip rather than a fall one. Also, we might have had trouble getting out on Tuesday.
2) Steve had an all-day program in Indianapolis on Wednesday and this way he had time to prepare instead of burning the midnight oil after we returned Tuesday evening.
3) I realized that the Phoenix tickets I thought I had bought (for a program Steve always does there in January) did not exist either! So I could go online and get those tickets while the flights we needed (and at a good price) were still available. Delta has cut so many flights from Cincinnati that the ones that remain fill quickly.

Isn't God awesome! I felt pretty stupid at first, but it worked out for the best. We were having some computer issues at the time I thought I bought both sets of tickets, but that's straightened out now. And I've learned to be sure the itinerary I print out has a confirmation number on it!

When we were hiking the Ledges Trail in CVNP, we came to a cave-like opening in the wall of rock. Steve approached it and looked inside while I stood back on the trail. After taking a few steps away from the cave, he turned and looked at me, waiting. We each stood there. "Are you OK?" he asked. I assured him I was fine. I couldn't understand why he didn't return to me so we could continue.

Finally he said, "Are you sure you're OK? Are you ready to keep going?" And he gestured on past the cave.

Then I realized that there was also an alternate trail that he was on. The trail split for people to go see the cave and then rejoined after a few feet. I was waiting on him and he was waiting on me. Fortunately, we both thought it was pretty funny, once we figured it out.

As we hiked, I started thinking about how often we rush to judge where another is standing when that person's place is just as good as our own. We simply don't have that person's perspective. Paul's reminder, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall," kept coming to mind as well as Jesus's many statements on not judging others. Any time I'm tempted to judge someone else's actions, I need to get more information about their situation. I need to improve communication--listen to them instead of telling them what I expect. Communicating was the key to our figuring out why we were each stuck on our section of the trail. Communicating is also the key to figuring out where other people are and how we can best help and encourage them.

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