Back Home Again – in West Virginia?
As you already know, Janet and I celebrated our 39th anniversary last Friday and were on the road to Williamsburg, VA. Janet’s sister Nancy, and their folks, live there and several times each year, I try to get out there with Janet to see everyone. The company was great but the weather, well – not so much. It rained both Saturday and Sunday, but in the ultimate analysis, you can’t get too amped up about all that. Janet flies out to see her family every three months or so, but I am not so fortunate. So it is special when I get to Williamsburg for several days. It would be nice to stay a little longer, but you have probably heard the saying that “fish and family smell after three days” so I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. After all, I’m not the blood relative…
Today, after lunch with Janet’s parents, we headed back west across interstate 64 through Richmond, then on to Charlottesville and Lexington, VA, then over the state line into West Virginia, arriving at White Sulphur Springs, home of our beloved Greenbrier. We didn’t arrive until almost 6:00 pm and I swear that our car knows the way here automatically.
We pulled under the covered entryway and were immediately greeted by members of the staff. Our bags were loaded onto the luggage cart and we were whisked away to the reservation desk on the lower level. The first person I saw was Shelley, who has helped us get situated the last several times we have been here. In fact, last January, when bad weather was brewing and we had to leave a day early, Shelley made sure that we were well taken care of and didn’t charge us for our last evening, even though we had to leave at the last moment, without much notice.
And since we know this place so well, it’s like a second home to us. I really think that I could live here, but Janet thinks part of the Greenbrier allure to us is that we look forward so much to coming out here. And while it usually takes me several days to chill out when we travel, I walk in the door here and can just feel the stress leave me instantly. Anyway, we checked in, have a terrific room right near the elevator on the fourth floor and unpacked for the four days we will be here. We then went down to Draper’s restaurant for dinner and saw our friend Jill Burks. She has the same name as our daughter, Jill, who married Tom Burks, so we always have a laugh when we see West Virginia Jill in the dining room.
Within minutes, we feel like we have never left. After dinner, we walked past a number of the shops that are on the lower level. We could have gone to the theatre and watched Pride and Prejudice at 9:00 pm, but the first night, we just kind of chill and grab a cup of coffee. So we stopped past the gourmet shop and for those of you who know Janet’s weakness, we bought 4 bags of milk chocolate rocks. She started out with one bag, then thought maybe a second, then a third and finally, a fourth bag. My money says that we will be back there before we leave to stock up even more – after all, it’s cheaper than paying freight charges for the store to ship Janet’s favorite delicacy to Carmel.
We also made our spa appointments and so we are already back into the rhythm of the Greenbrier routine. It’s just so natural. But one of the things that I never tire of is the transition from the routines of our normal lives into the temporary life here. And it is marked by the change in landscape from whatever area of the country we travel from. If we are coming from Indy, the land changes from flat to hilly to mountainous. And if we happen to be coming from Williamsburg, which is usually the case, we see the land change from the forests and plantations of eastern Virginia back to the mountains of western Virginia and the beautiful Shenandoah area.
Regardless, we are smack in the middle of a 7000 acre resort in the eastern West Virginia mountains. And sure enough, today as we drove in, we saw herds of cattle on the hills as we made out way west across the state. The beauty is breathtaking and I am surprised at my emotion every time I drive here, even though you would think that I would get used to it – I never do…
Anyway, at the risk of using a verse that I have used in the past, the most appropriate verse I can think of tonight is from Psalms 50:9-12, “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”
These words were spoken by God. Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? God created it all and He owns it all. And nobody but God could have created this kind of natural beauty. Period. My encouragement this evening is to recognize that all nature is a gift to us from God. He put it here for our enjoyment. But most of us are spiritually energized by seeing something so beautiful. In fact, nature is one of the spiritual pathways that people use to connect with God. My prayer is that you will notice the creation around you and understand that God wants you to enjoy it. And never take it for granted. Because sometimes we get de-sensitized to our environment and we should never take the beauty of God’s creation for granted. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…