The sun had finally peaked through after many days of cold, rainy weather. I knew this meant Richard and I would be out and about for the day. We were living in the southern part of the country now, but every chance we could get we traveled north to where Richard spent so many years. He is always eager to share his growing up years and his work with me; pointing out all the places he worked or spent his time.
I would listen intently as Richard would tell me of the hours he spent in his favorite place, the forest. As a young boy, he loved to catch chameleons and watch them finally succumb to the warmth of his hand and go to sleep. He loved the solitude and the thriving insect and animal life of the woods. He became familiar with the habits of many of the creatures. As an adult he did a military tour and then was blest with a 30-year career with the United States Forestry Service.
Because of Richard’s travels throughout the countryside, he became familiar with all the highways and back roads in the area. That’s where we were headed on this beautiful morning.
We prepared for our excursion, loading our car with pop and snacks, along with our cameras. We never know how long we will be gone. Richard’s favorite slogan is, “Remember, I am retired!” That means forget your watch!
“This is a beautiful drive,” I commented as we whizzed through the countryside. “I don't remember being out this way before?” “Actually, I just remembered this highway a few days ago, and I knew you would find it interesting”, Richard stated.
“You mean I will find our destination interesting, right? Not the highway.”
“You’ll see”, he leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek.
It was late August, a month of mild weather in Michigan, unlike the sultry summer temperature of the south. It was the perfect day for seeing new places. I loved to see our tax dollars well spent on roads such as this.
Quite suddenly, with no indication or warning, there was no road. Have you heard the phase, ‘the end of the road’? I know where to find it. It was quite a strange sight. The yellow lined highway stopped abruptly with dense forest immediately ahead of us. Richard shook his head. Part of his job through the years had been the layout of roads and this was not the way it was done.
Richard shook his head, "Can you believe this? Nothing to tell a driver what’s coming up. It just stops, a construction with no purpose. I wanted to show you rather than tell you about it.”
We parked the car in the middle of the highway, at the edge of the pavement, on this road less traveled. We walked a few feet into the surrounding woods. The twigs breaking beneath our feet and the soft chirping of chick-a-dees was the only sound for miles.
My mind started making a comparison to life without God and this road to nowhere. I voiced my thoughts to Richard. “We spend our waking hours earning wages to have the good things of life. We invest our money for good returns. We buy the latest fashions and automobiles. But it’s the end of the road that needs our attention. No matter how beautiful the drive, if there’s no well planned destination, all the labor is in vain.”
You’re right, Sugarbabe,” he commented. “Our life here is only a trip to our final destination. People are caught up in the trip, not in the arrival."
We were silent for a while and then Richard’s voice became lighthearted. “I think nothing would be nicer than ice cream right now." He reached for my hand as we started back through the deep woods. It saddened me to think of lives with no purpose, people living with no destination in mind.
We turned our car around and drove back through the countryside looking for our treat. All the while I was thanking God that my husband and I are on the same road and we know our destination. In the meantime, I’m glad for country drives and ice cream along the way.”