I think I need a new section on my blog. Because as much as I love philosophizing about random things and figuring out life via essay, sometimes the thoughts that spill out of my brain are just plain “here’s what I did this weekend” stories.
I’ve also recently gained the courage to tell my friends about this blog, so they’re asking for our stories to be publicized, and I must say I find the suggestion quite agreeable. If you’ve been following along (all 5 of you – thank you!), you may remember that I went to Charleston last weekend with a couple friends (memorialized in Of Love and Tent Assembly) where we perfected our tent setup skills. This weekend, the same group of friends had another experience entirely.
It began innocently enough. We were all gathered to throw a surprise baby shower for our mutual friend who is adopting a little boy (her blog is incredible, by the way), and over the course of the morning we decided to go shopping and then head to Melissa’s home about an hour away to get dinner and go hiking/walking/dog-meeting/be outdoors and active.
Melissa has a season pass to the Biltmore Estate, so we ended up walking on the trails along the French Broad River since there was a wedding up at the house. We stopped for several pictures along the way (Serena is a picture fiend) and found this awesome tree trunk jutting out over the river. We all wanted pictures, of course. It got to my turn and Melissa mentioned being barefoot – I thought that was a marvelous idea, so I took off one shoe and tossed it high up on the bank. But not high enough. We all watched in fascination as the shoe rolled ever-so-slowly down the bank and plop into the water.
The exact moment we realized the shoe was going down the river:
(Photo credit: Serena Minnick)
There was a moment of silence, then everyone was shouting at once and Melissa and Natalie ran down the trail after the shoe. It seemed slow-going and catchable. Being half barefoot and stuck on a tree, I stayed put while Serena took a few pictures and then we walked (I hobbled) off towards the triumphant sounds of “I see it!” and “Can you get it?” The sounds were not terribly triumphant, however, because my shoe got stuck somewhere along the bank. Natalie attempted to retrieve it with a tree branch, but to no avail.
Serena took her place in the “get Jules’ shoe back at all costs” adventure. By this point I was trying to reassure the girls that it was totally okay, I had spare shoes at Melissa’s house and I didn’t even like these shoes – but either they didn’t hear me or were set on the adventure, because the rescue party continued. I’m standing (still barefoot) at the edge of the treeline and Melissa comes toward me with a camera to document our misadventure, when all of a sudden we hear “OW!” “ow Ow OW!” And everyone is running out of the woods at breakneck speed, Serena slapping at her legs repeating “owwww” amidst groans of pain.
We stopped on the path thinking we were safe, but there were still two yellow jackets buzzing around Serena’s shorts. We ran again, this time successfully escaping the yellow jackets, though Serena and Natalie were perpetually paranoid for the reminder of our walk. In the hubbub we discovered that Serena had been stung 3-4 times, and Melissa had cut her toe in the woods and was bleeding all over her inappropriate footwear (seriously, you don’t wear flip flops in the woods). Serena’s a champ, though. Despite the pain and discomfort, she would not let the evening go to waste: we still stopped for picture after picture on our way back to the car. In fact, we had to convince her that, yes, she absolutely should use at least an antihistamine. But before getting the medicine, of course we stopped and got ice cream: me without shoes, Serena with 4 stings and Melissa with a toe cut open! We were quite the weary troop. Natalie acted exhausted so that she wouldn’t be the only one unaffected by our misadventure 😉
(Photo credit: Melissa Mason)
Eventually we all made it home safe and sound. My shoe was still irretrievably lost, Serena still had yellow jack stings, and Melissa still had a cut toe: but there’s a lesson to be learned here, I think. I’m a firm believer that God uses every circumstance in our lives for a purpose, and while I watched Serena pushing through her pain to take pictures and eat ice cream, I couldn’t help but think back to how our morning started. We began the day celebrating a family who have pushed through all kinds of difficulties over the course of four years to become parents to a little one the world hasn’t even met. They have spent hours upon hours and thousands upon thousands of dollars just to rescue one child. This family would be quick to point out the picture of Christ in their adoption story:
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ to live a perfect life in an imperfect world. He sent his Son to experience poverty and ridicule and rejection and weariness and hunger. He endured beatings and loss and He even was subjected to the worst kind of death imaginable. He pushed through all of that – and why? To adopt me. He pushed through the hard things so I could be His. As a Christian, pushing through hard things is not a cross I bear – it is a privilege to share in Christ’s sufferings. A lost shoe is nothing, but it is a small reminder that some day I may experience great loss or pain, and in that day I will be able to rejoice in my place in Christ.