Yes, we are finally back home tonight after a wonderful stop at the Greenbrier – having spent several days prior to that in Williamsburg late last week. Janet and I make an annual pilgrimage to Williamsburg to see family, conduct some business and I usually grab coffee one morning with a friend of mine who used to work in Indianapolis, but hails from Williamsburg. Janet’s younger sister, Nancy, lives there as well and it is always wonderful to stay in touch with that end of the family.
I have loved Williamsburg since I was a little boy so it is a treat to go back there and see what has changed since our last visit. There are shops that we always frequent and by the time we were ready to head back to West Virginia, the backseat of the car was already full of purchases!
We have our habits at the Greenbrier and our stay usually starts with room service the evening of our arrival. We are tired from travel and don’t want to worry about dressing up for dinner. Frankly, we prefer the more casual restaurants in White Sulphur Springs or Lewisburg, but the Greenbrier is a wonderful place to headquarter during our visits.
Each morning, we start with breakfast in the main dining room and while we love the food, we love Kathy, the Dining Room Manager, even more. It is always a delight to catch up and find out what is new in her life. We always get, and give, big hugs and it is nice to know that Kathy has more than 30 years working at our beloved Greenbrier. She is “old school” – she believes in service the way it used to be in the grand old hotels.
Then, we usually make the rounds of visiting some of the employees we have known for decades. There is Roscoe, the men’s attendant at the spa, who used to work in Terra Haute. He is one of the employees whose home was destroyed in the 1000 year flood several years ago. And Deanna, the Manager of the shoe store, who always convinces us to fill up our car with the new styles just out. She has become a dear friend and we had dinner with Deanna and her husband last night at one of the local haunts in White Sulphur Springs.
I can’t even begin to talk about Eric, Jill, Theresa, James and all the others who have meant so much to us throughout the years. Because the Greenbrier wouldn’t be the Greenbrier without the people. That’s as simple as it gets. The people make the place, not the other way around.
But we did have something happen to us this trip that really illustrates the kindness of the people in wild, wonderful West Virginia. It may seem insignificant, but it isn’t. We were on the interstate and approaching a section of road that was undergoing construction. In Indiana, Illinois or most other states, drivers would try to pass each other and vie for position going into the lane reduction area, but no so in West Virginia. No… probably a mile before the lanes merged, people were already aligning their cars in single file and NOBODY was charging ahead or trying to cut into line. I couldn’t believe it! It was so orderly and pleasant that we zoomed right through the construction with barely a delay.
And during rush hour, everyone lets someone merge in front of them so everybody gets home more quickly. And… you never see cars blocking an intersection during a red light. Everywhere you turn, someone is engaged in a random act of kindness. Wouldn’t it be great to live in an area like that all the time?
Tonight’s verse is from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. He tells us, in Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
My encouragement this evening is that the Lord loves it when we work together and practice disciplines that are in accordance with his demeanor. My prayer is that we will all realize that the world is a better place when we work in concert with one another and realize that we all benefit when kindness is the standard of conduct we aspire to. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…