“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” I keep repeating these lines from Psalm 23 as I think of all I leave behind today. The pasture ahead stretches beyond my imagination even though Dan and I have poured over books, pamphlets, photos, and our dog-eared “Your Guide to the National Parks” for months.
According to my meticulous travel agent (Dan) who has created a two-page itinerary for our three-month trek across the USA, we will first visit highlights like Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, authentic Country Music at every corner , BBQ at its best, boot shops (yes!), and my personal request, Parnassus Bookstore, a rare homemade literary legend and dream come true of one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett.
After a visit to Saint Louis (the Arches! But Dan refuses to go up, which is an odd fetish for a former Fighter Pilot), we’ll head up to Iowa to visit our Pelican Lake RV friends on their 6,ooo-acre farm of corn and soybeans. I hope to pick up some gardening pointers while perusing the rows of produce while riding on their GPS equipped tractor. Next we’ll slide into Omaha, Nebraska to see our friends, Karl and Julie Ostrand who we supported when they were missionaries in South Africa and growing a family. They continued growing their family after returning to the States two years ago. Now we are anxious to reunite with them and meet all five of their kids. Hopefully we’ll get there before there are six!
Our detailed itinerary informs me that after Omaha we will be done visiting friends and homes for awhile. South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana warn I’d better secure my walking stick, fleece, and camp-girl panties.
This pasture we are wandering is so large! While Driver Dan is confident and cool, I feel like a sheep lost. How good it is to know “The eyes of the Lord roam to and fro throughout the earth”; I just don’t want Him to lose me!
Meanwhile back at home, August will slip into September and Virginia her autumn glory. Soon school starts, football games begin, the pool closes, potted plants wither, and my birds look for places to stay warm. While miles pass beneath us, birthdays for grandchildren and daughters also come and go. It will be a new adventure hunting down unique gifts for them as we travel from state to state, rather than sending a check or ordering from Amazon. We all will miss each other during this season of travel, but we’re finally getting used to the honking of the RV air-horn letting the world, or at least our neighborhood, know another trip has begun!
Now that we have actually pulled away and I think I have EVERYTHING with me, I am trusting God more and more with those I have left behind. It has been hard to pull away from dear people so good to me and uplifting in their faith and for whom I have earnestly prayed. The Lord is not only my Shepherd who protects and provides for all good things, He is the Shepherd of everyone I love no matter where they are. I know I can trust Him on that!
As we approach Ashville, the mountain ranges spike and sprawl in front of us in spite of rain and stormy clouds. I’ll start taking pictures now – I don’t want you to miss a thing!