Blues Travels

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Bedford, VA – Moments

Today was a good day, a day for reflection.

It occurred to me that there are two very different types of people in this world and have something very interesting in common.

One type of person is the quiet type that is content staying within themselves. They often stay at home, never venturing out of their comfort zone very much. They may pass through this world unnoticed by the masses, and are perfectly content to do so. They may not be successful in the traditional sense and they may never make a profound impact on the world, yet at the same time they often make the best of friends. They are good listeners. They are often loyal. At least this has been my experience. I enjoy this kind of person. At times, I have been this kind of person…..

The other type of person is a mover and a shaker. Often ambitious, they are always on the go, hustling this deal or that deal, meeting people right and left, making contacts, going out to parties. You get the idea. These people are great as well. They often times are the business leaders amongst us, the successful. Not always mind you, but often.

Yet, these two strikingly dissimilar people share something in common: The miss the moments in life that make life meaningful in the truest sense.

I define a �moment� as a divine appointment. A �moment� is God�s way of trying to teach you something. A �moment� happens when you least expect it, but in order to experience a moment, it requires a quiet spirit that is willing to be outgoing. That is a tough combination to bring to the moment. Indeed, it is a paradox in my opinion.

Busy people are often so caught up in getting from point �A� to point �Z� that they totally miss out on the letters in between. They miss a huge collective of divinely appointed moments that can make up a life because they are too distracted to see them.They fail to see that the journey IS the destination.

On the other hand, quiet people are often so self-introspective and withdrawn that they never get out and interact with life in a meaningful way. Whereas busy people are concerned about getting from point �A� to point �Z�, some people are so withdrawn that they can�t even see past point �A�. Indeed, point �A� is right where that want to stay. They have no interest in going anywhere or doing anything other than contemplating their navels. As a result, they miss out on countless divine appointments because in fact, they never show up on time, if at all.

This trip I am taking has helped me see this. The past 4 years have taught me this.

When I moved back home to spend time with my mom (and eventually care for her), I was so caught up in her illness that I missed many moments with her. I was also secluded in the country at moms house, and I never left the confines of that house very much, accept to take her to the doctor or the emergency room or to do some shopping for us. So, in a way I was too quiet and self-involved to experience moments with life. Occasionally, I was present for some wonderful moments. Of course, Blue stands out as a wonderful example of a moment in my life that I was ready for. So does my four years with mom, but unlike my relationship with Blue I was so panicked at the thought of mom not feeling well that I just was too busy in my spirit to be available for moments with her.

One moment does stand out though. It took place in Bedford, VA about 2 years ago.

Bedford, VA is a very special little town. Thirty minutes south-west of Lynchburg, on the way to Roanoke, Bedford is the home of the National D-Day Memorial. Bedford, VA has the singular distinction of having lost more men per-capita to the Beaches of Normandy than any other town or city in the USA.

Mom had always wanted to visit the D-Day Memorial. So had I. So, one day, while shopping for a car for my brother, mom and I decided to see the memorial together. It was a beautiful day. It was a fall day I believe. Mom was sick, but able to walk on her own at this point. We had a lovely day, and at the time it never dawned on me that the next time I visited the memorial, mom would be dead and I would be searching for myself. I guess at the time, I always held out for moms recovery. I always hoped she would get better and go into remission. I believed she would be ok.

So, fast forward to present day.

Mom only just died in January of this year, yet for some reason it seems like ages ago and my memory needed refreshing. Last night, as I drove from Westminster MD, heading south to destinations somewhat unknown, I decided to stop over in Bedford, VA on my way to Vaguely, North Carolina. I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember holding moms hand. I wanted to remember Mom. My past needed revisiting. I decided to stay over for the night in Bedford. The next day I would go to the memorial.overlord

I arrived at the memorial this morning. I walked slowly from the car up the long pathway leading to the monument and once I was at the top of the compound, I found a place to just lean on, a railing of some sort, which allowed me to gaze out into the historic vistas. The memorial is so serene, with a roaring waterfall that becomes everything as you stand amid the artwork. It really is breathtaking. waterfall

And yet, while the serenity is all around you, you cannot help but be struck by the awe, the terror and sacrifice that is war.
beachhead
valor
overthewall

So many thoughts and memories of that day with mom came flooding back to my mind. I could see mom walking slowly along the waters edge. I could see her smiling, moving around in a small body, wracked with cancer and beaten by drugs, but still possessing an indomitable spirit at that point. I remembered feeling somewhat sad, seeing her that way. But it was a good time. It was pleasant.

As I thought this to myself, I wished she were here now. I really want to talk to her. So much has happened to me. So much has changed.

Just then, an old man walked up to me. He had a cane. He was 83. He told me his brother was a D-Day Veteran. And for some reason, he told me he had cancer. He told me the drugs were killing him, but that otherwise he was OK. He wished he didn�t have to take the drugs. I told him I understood and I mentioned what I had been through with mom. We spoke at some length about mom and about his health. And with that he walked away. It was a brief moment, but a moment nonetheless. Perhaps this was not my moment. Maybe it was his moment. After all, not all moments are meant for us. Sometimes, we are meant to be a moment for someone else. But either way, whether a moment is for us, or we are for someone else�s moment, requires being still, and at the same time being willing to be engaged at the exact instant a moment presents itself.

waterfall

I left Bedford, VA for Roanoke. I decided to take the back way, avoiding the major highway. I wanted to just think. I wanted to be still. As I drove through the town of Bedford, I passed slowly through a small neighborhood. I was watching the houses to my right and left, going slowly so as to take it all in, when I passed a small gathering of people on the side of the street in front of one of the houses. They were huddled over a cat. They were obviously crying, and I knew at once what had happened. I knew more than most people could know what it was they were feeling. I pulled my car around and headed back to the spot where they were gathered. I was crying too, but I didn�t let them notice. I just spent time with them. I offered them comfort. It was a moment.

Well, time for me to say goodnight for now. Blue says he will see you down the road. Remember, life is about moments. A life without moments is not much of a life. I hope each of you has as many moments you can.

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October 10, 2004 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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