If Nothing Changes, Nothing Will Change
John always says, “If nothing changes, nothing will change.” Likewise, if this trip doesn’t change me, nothing will. How can I see and experience so many sites, places, people, and blessings, without experiencing some changes in me?
We are beginning our fifth week of this adventure and have already experienced sites in God’s nature from a different view – the river’s view. Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron rookeries, hanging cliffs, beaches, and the changing of the seasons, just to name a few. The river’s view differs from the road’s view – one view isn’t wrong – one view isn’t better – they are both unique and beautiful. However, without a change in perspective, the other view cannot be appreciated. The river-view cannot be seen from the road and the road-view cannot be seen from the river. How often do I perceive my view in life as the right and/or better view? How often do I miss out on a “Great Blue Heron rookery” in life because I am not willing to change my perspective?
In addition to the river-view of sites in nature, we have approached many places with a river-view. My first impression of these places is different from the river than from the road. Do they have an accessible boat dock? Do they have an open restroom (The existence of a restroom does not guarantee it is open) close to the boat dock? Do they have trash receptacles? Do they have a place to camp? Yes to these items translates to a river-friendly community.
After assessing their friendliness, we walk into town for a road-view. We have found the river-friendliness of a place is not connected to its prosperity. Many river towns were once booming towns when the Erie Canal was still active but are now almost ghost towns. I would love to go back in time when the town was at its peak, see the freshly painted buildings, and greet people on the streets. All these buildings were designed and built at a point in history and provided someone with either a place to live or a source of income. A mother yelled at her son, “Don’t slam the door.” A merchant thanked a customer and said, “Come again.” Now many buildings are silent except for the sound of mice scurrying, while others are silent because of the sound of a wrecking ball. It’s so sad to see the important present become the forgotten past. Are there people in my life who have become the forgotten past? Do I need to perform some needed maintenance in some areas of my life to prevent silence?
While some of the buildings in these river towns may be empty, the people have, except for Covington, Indiana, been welcoming and helpful. These people love their river and sometimes drive there just to look at it. River people want to know what you need and try very hard to meet that need – rides, fire-wood, meals, transportation for boats around dams, welcome bags, treats, tours, showers, places to stay, laundry, etc…… But most of all friendship! Before this trip, I didn’t consider how the people would change me. Each time we meet someone new, I am amazed at their generosity and eagerness to help – they never seem to be too busy. Am I that receptive to the need in others? Am I eager to share my wealth? Am I “too busy”?
Through the generosity of others, I have been blessed! I have seen God’s hand every step of the way as He has placed these people at just the rights place at just the right time. There have been too many “I just happened to be” instances, many occurring as we have pulled up at the boat ramp, for them to be coincidental. God knew what we were going to need at that moment and provided a way. These heroes don’t even realize they are being used by God to take care of us. It’s easy to recognize these blessings because our needs are basic – food, restroom, trash, water. (Not necessarily in that order.) Almost everything we carry with us is here fulfill a need, with a few wants (pillow, guitar, wool blankets…), and it all fits into two separate boats. When I return home in August, I will have an entire house of mainly wants and a few needs. For some reason, in that environment, I don’t recognize the blessings as quickly as I have on this trip. What will cause me to be more aware of each small blessing? What will cause me to quit taking so many things for granted?
Sites, places, people, blessings. These are all part of the trip. These are all part of the changes in me. Some changes are occurring now – others won’t occur until I return home and reevaluate my life. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I can’t wait to see who I am at the end of this trip in August! If our crazy, once-in-a-lifetime adventure doesn’t change me, nothing will.