I recently had the privilege of going on a quick, four day tour with my best friend to Branson, Missouri. If you have never been there, it is a beautiful area. Branson is known for their family-friendly environment and their great shows. While there, it is not uncommon to hear God being praised and veterans being honored. How refreshing! To make it even more inspiring, we were accompanied by thirty senior citizens. These are people who have said "YES!" to life. Regardless of their age or the many things that life has brought their way, they are determined to get out of their homes and their comfort zones to meet new people and see new things.
There are a couple of women in particular who inspired me on this trip. The first is ninety-two. She was traveling with her fifty-four year old daughter from Texas, who has determined to spend more time with her mom, while she has the chance. They held hands much of the time. This dear woman looks great! When asked if she wanted to stay at the hotel while we went to a shopping area, she declined, saying "I do not want to miss a thing!" At ninety-two she could have assumed she'd seen it all… a store is a store… or quite understandably, just stayed behind to rest. Eight other people, some much younger than her, stayed behind to take naps!
The second, was an eighty-six year old woman who was traveling with her fifty-nine year old daughter. I never saw her without a smile on her face. My friend has known her for years and says she is always like that, despite some very difficult situations in her life. She didn't say much but it was obvious that she is determined to enjoy each moment given to her. She had to twist her daughter's arm, but together, they rode the roller coaster at Silver Dollar City! By her account, she had a blast! From her daughter's account, her mom "lied to her" by telling her it was not scary. It's interesting to see how our perspectives on life are revealed through the simplest of situations. The daughter complained and her mother smiled.
I was also inspired by our bus driver, known on tours as the "coach operator." He is a kind and humble man who has seen some adversity himself. When an accident crushed his ankle and impaired his walking, he nearly lost his business and his hope. After pressing through a series of setbacks and surgeries, he has now driven a coach for the last year and a half and just three months ago starting writing poetry. While on tour, he entrusted me with his chunky spiral bound notebook that he keeps between the steering wheel and the window of the bus. I sat and copied down some of his thoughtful and inspired poems. What a privilege that was!
I saw some great shows, ate some good food and had a wonderful time. The highlight though… spending four days in a row with my best friend, and the people I met throughout the journey. None of us are ever sure where this road of life will take us. The important thing, as I've learned it, is who you are traveling with. Whether on detours, the scenic route, the hectic interstate or pausing at a rest stop, the company we keep can give joy and meaning to any situation. Though I've loved all the destinations I've been privileged to travel to, I've also realized that the really important places aren't even on the map! I encourage you to grab a friend, venture out and be inspired!