Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Exotic Oasis

The sign welcoming us to Nebraska read "The Good Life" and we were looking forward to at least one evening of that. We were on route to the Grand Island KOA and The Nuvi directed us to this spot. Since we didn't exactly know what Grand Island was, we decided to go with the idea that this was it and that we were on The Grand Island and that it was an exotic oasis and that we would find ourselves on the best camp site on the island. The Good Life. It was not so much an exercise in imagination as it was a reminder that we need only open our hearts and eyes to experience elements of beauty and truth wherever we are.

I am a water/mountain kind of guy. I enjoy being around lakes, oceans and trees. I especially enjoy dangling my feet in a cool clear stream. It probably sounds sappy and sentimental, but places like that are inspiring to me in, what I consider, a spiritual kind of way. It's easier for me to see God in places where people haven't totally screwed things up. Miles of corn, as good as it is when it is fresh and crunchy and sweet, just doesn't do it for me.

Not everyone is like this, though. A friend of mine from college saw glimpses of God's creativeness through our own architecture and skyscrapers. Others find it in various other art forms. I know others who can smile at the smell of a hog farm. I even know some people who can be with other people and still sense God's presence.

My wife is one of those people. She has a way of bringing out the best in people and situations. I noticed this about her a long time ago and I think she makes me a better person. She's the kind of woman the Hebrew Scriptures refer to in the Proverbs and The Song of Songs; clever, resourceful, beautiful and wise.

So here we were in the middle of Nebraska on our own private shore of the Grand Island and we were enjoying this incredible sunset. Shawn had set up camp while I pretended to be busy boiling water and dangling my feet in the stream. Dinner was fresh raviolis with marinara, sauteed green beans with sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh Kiwi fruit (all from Trader Joe's) for dessert. The sun was setting behind the lone tree on the horizon beyond our private beach and we had the best seats in the Dining Room.

Up until this night we were just trying to drive as far and as fast as we could. Tonight, we enjoyed The Good Life with dinner at sunset on the shore of our own private island, Shawn's Sabbatical and my vacation truly began.

And to think we almost settled for a KOA campground in the middle of Nebraska!