Tag Archives: peace

Your Hiding Place

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I have wrestled with words this week after last Friday’s horrible shooting.  I’ve had no desire to write anything simply because my thoughts have been with the families of the Newtown community.  Tuesday night I was a volunteer at a local Christmas concert.  After working the “will call” ticket table, I was seated immediately before the music began.  Walking down the aisle right behind me were a young father and his daughter who were seated next to me.  The little girl was probably 5 years old and adorable in her pink outfit and pink shoes.  She had long hair and a very sweet smile.  I really just wanted to put her in my lap and wrap my arms around her.  In that moment, she was the embodiment of all that is precious about children and life.

I take the same route to work almost every day .  My favorite stretch of road is about two miles long with plenty of things on both sides of the road for me to observe.  There are two farms and I enjoy watching the fields change as they are worked each season.  What I have pronounced as “the most perfect tree” is on this route as well.  Right now all the leaves are gone and I’m waiting for it to be covered in ice on a sunny winter day.  The whole tree will sparkle like a crystal statue.  My favorite sight, however, is the little wooden chapel.

Roadside Chapel

Roadside Chapel

This roadside log and cement sanctuary is less than two car lengths off the road, so you need to pull up at an angle.  The door with its “Welcome Home” sign is usually left open when no one is there.  It’s rough on the inside.  The walls and floor are unfinished.  There is a small table against the wall immediately to your left as you enter.   Directly in front of the doorway against the back wall is a plain altar with a picture of Jesus hanging above it.  In the middle open area, there are a couple of short benches.  In the back right corner is a broom.  There is no electricity, but some hooks have been added in the ceiling for anyone who wants to bring and hang a lantern.

Above the small table is a typed history of sorts.  It’s been framed and is still readable.  That’s where you discover that the chapel was placed in this spot by Kathryn Smithey who has since passed away.  There’s a simple composition notebook and pencils on the table for comments along with a Bible.

Over the years, I’ve seen groups of four to five teenagers gathered inside; they looked as if they were having a Bible study.  One morning a guy had parked his motorcycle in front and was leaning on it while he played a guitar.  On another afternoon, an earnest looking young man had set up four short rows of chairs outside to the left of the chapel and was standing behind a simple podium.  He was facing the road and waiting for someone, anyone, to stop and listen to his message.

Most often I will see a car parked in front and the door will be closed.  I imagine a person with a need has stopped in for a few moments of prayer or solace or simply to be alone in the quiet.

We all have those times.  When it’s your turn, where is your hiding place?

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Portable Peace

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View from Beech Mountain

Beach or mountains – do you have a favorite?  That’s a frequently asked question around here.  Living in central North Carolina means I don’t have too far a drive to either the beach (+/- 4 hours) or the mountains (+/- 2 hours).  That makes “getting away from it all” pretty easy and I’m happy to go in either direction.

I was in the Blue Ridge for a couple of days this past week with my two sisters.  As we were out and about, we discussed the merits of both locations.  We grew up going to the beach more frequently with extended family and friends around.  There was always so much to do – a necessity for kids and sometimes, adults.  Sand between your toes, the wind in your face and the hypnotic sound of waves breaking – it’s a package deal.

Not so with the mountains.  Even in the noisiness of a busy sidewalk café in Blowing Rock, there’s something inherently quiet in the shadow of those dark blue and gray hills.  When I look at a picture of the ocean, I need the rest of the package to feel like I’m there.  When I look at a picture of the mountains, I have a greater feeling of being there, even though I’m far away.  It’s that quiet, that peace and it’s portable.

The best of both worlds?  To be able to sit on the side of the mountain while looking at the ocean; Maine and Maui come to mind.

Whichever is your favorite, I hope you’ve figured out how to pack it up and take it with you.  That’s what holds us over ‘til the next time.