TRULY THANKFUL FOR: Memories that make me grateful I’m still here to remember them.
Years ago when I was in college, a good friend of mine and I decided to take a weekend trip, “a girls’ getaway,” if you will. Neither of us had much money at the time, so we were looking for some place not too far away and not too expensive. We did some research and settled on a place in Pennsylvania called Conneaut Lake Park. The brochure showed a beautiful lake with a beach, rides, mini-golf and a hotel with a gorgeous white veranda, so we figured this was as close to paradise as we were going to get a short ways from home on a budget. I remember us both being VERY excited. Expectations could not have been any higher for this trip. We went to AAA, got our official Trip-Tik, packed our bags and got started early for our almost two-hour drive.
The minute we drove into town, we knew we had been duped. It took us all of 2 seconds to know that the boardwalk would take all of about 10 seconds to see. The hotel was old, very old. In fact, it looked like it was stuck somewhere back in the 1900’s; not exactly what we had in mind for our “hip” girls weekend out. Still, not letting our enthusiasm be dampened, we decided we would give it a chance and went in to see about our room. We knew we were in trouble when they handed us our room key and a plastic bag with a Rubbermaid shower hose and head in it. I suppose looking back, the fact that they had spelled out in the hotel brochure that they had shower amenities might have been a clue to us, but it was something we had totally dismissed. We went up to the room and it was as old as the rest of the place. Our “shower amenities” consisted of our rubber hose and a huge clawfoot tube. There was a double bed and everything looked ancient. Still, it was clean, it was right on site, so we decided to take a chance. We made our way downstairs and inquired at the front desk about food and night-life. They stared at us like we were from another planet. “Well, the restaurant has its own dining, as for night-life, there’s not much going on with the storm coming.”
Storm? Looking outside we saw huge, black ominous clouds settling over the little town. It was like something from a bad movie. The weekend weather called for rain, lots of it. At this point I think we both realized that our weekend was going to be a bust.
But it wasn’t. I have some of the fondest memories of that weekend. I will never forget us trying to wash our hair with that Rubbermaid hose; we cried, we laughed and cried some more. We sat on the veranda playing double solitaire over and over and over again. We listened to Billy Joel and sipped wine coolers in our room. On Sunday before we left, the sun peeked out and we got to take the 10-second walk up and down the boardwalk and get ice cream at a vintage custard stand. It was not what we had wanted or expected, but somehow we made do and created some fantastic, laughable memories.
I think life is a lot like that Conneaut trip. We go along our journey with certain expectations and get disappointed when everything doesn’t turn out as planned. Sometimes in those disappointments though, we miss the hidden blessings God gives us like the laughter, the love, the adventure of being thrown off course. We “sweat the small stuff” but we also miss “small moments” which could be the undoing to our disappointments. I’m a worrier, a planner and a fretter – the perfect combination of vices to interrupt those small moments. Today as I go about my day, my treatments, this road-trip we call life, I ask God not to let me miss them. Hope you don’t miss them either.