In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:14-16 (NIV)
On our last day to ride while in North Georgia, we had many choices. We could go southeast to Track Rock Mountain, southwest to Amicolola Falls or northwest to Chattanooga and Chickamauga Battlefield. As a “tour director,” I laid out the options. P. wanted to stay at the cabin and do nothing. While that wasn’t one of my proposals, it did sound tempting, but the guys and I chose to head over to Chickamauga. We got a late start, and I missed the road we were to take there, so we went way out of our way to get there. Unfortunately, that left us with only an hour to see the museum and battlefield before we had to head back to the cabin and dinner with a friend who spends summers in the mountains. You could spend all day at Chickamauga but we rushed through the museum which had a fascinating lighted display that gave a history of the two day battle condensed down to only seven minutes. That was how I felt the whole visit went: too much to learn and not enough time to absorb it. The park is covered in memorials, statues and markers that tell the story of the men who fought there. Many of the markers are so specific that not only do they give names and ranks, but they tell the day and the time that events happened on that spot and how many men and horses died or were wounded. The park has a driving tour laid out and at the first stop, as is his custom, husband sped past it. He slowed in response to a punch on the shoulder and after my attempt at taking a picture while leaning backwards threatened to tip us over. I was not pleased. Neither was R. who finally announced he would meet us back at the Visitor’s Center. He wanted to learn more than a quick drive by would allow. So, with time pressing against us, we ended up with two different approaches to touring the battlefield. R. saw only a small portion of the park, but he saw it well. When we left, he remembered numbers, dates, and names. Husband and I circled the whole park, twice, but I can not tell you exactly what we saw or why it was important. It made me think about how often I speed through my Bible study time. I set aside only enough time to read just a few verses or phrases to get me through the day when what I need to do is really study the words and apply them to my life. On the way home, I vowed to someday set aside the time to revisit the place where thousands of men gave up their lives for causes they believed in. I need to do the same with my Bible study time. It doesn’t do me any good if it doesn’t make an impact on how I live my life.
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
All good things must come to an end and that is true of vacations as well. Although we were tempted to call the cabin rental people and ask for an extra night, we dutifully loaded up the truck and trailer and headed home. We had stuff crammed into every nook and cranny of the truck. Behind the seat were eight bags of alpaca wool, a wooden sign that says, “Be Still and Know that I am God,” and half of P.s clothes so that she could use her suitcase to hold souvenirs. Under the seat were three boxes of jams, honey and preserves. Creating a wall across the back seat between P. and me were boxes of dried apple pies, apple dumplings, peanut brittle, cookies from the German bakery in Helen and bottles of apple cider. A large box of apples road home wedged between two of the motorcycles on the trailer while cartons of Cheerwine, a soda similar to cherry coke that can only be purchased in Tennessee and North Carolina surrounded the motorcycle and suitcases in the bed of the truck. I had to laugh. Other than the wool and my pottery horse plate, all my mountain souvenirs were edible! On that long neverending drive home, we ate our way from North Georgia back to Southwest Florida. R. drove, while husband and P. slept much of the way. In between wiggling around in my seat trying to get comfortable, I studied the map, something I love to do. While the map could tell me what towns and exits lay ahead of us, it could not tell me what gas stations and restaurants were there. I was missing my Tom Tom which I forgot to pack. With that little gadget, you can find out how far you are away from specific types of restaurants or brands of gas stations. On our trip, our friends teased us about me being as good as a GPS system because I know the North Georgia area so well from numerous trips that way. When it came to the Interstate though, I was a bust. I don’t have the locations of all BP gas stations and Carrabbas Restaurants programmed into my head. In fact, at a rest area, I had to ask the exit number for a pecan place I like to visit. I knew it was somewhere between Macon and Valdosta, but couldn’t remember the name of the town. Fortunately, the rest area attendant knew and we added to our stockpile of food related souvenirs. That’s the way life is sometimes. I might know the general direction I’m headed, I might even know some of the things that will happen on the way there. But, only God knows the details of what the future holds. Thankfully, I can rest in the knowledge that He is God and has all things under His control. It helps me to be still. Well, except when I need to stretch my legs on a long ride home.