“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”
~ Charles Warner
Recently I had the amazing and memorable experience of going on vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains with my wonderful family. From the exciting attractions to the breathtaking views and mountain scenery, we really felt we had been whisked away to a whole new world. This incredible and beautiful landscape filled with wide open spaces, friendly kin folk and nature in all its glory was a very welcome change from the busyness we are used to in Canada. Our cozy cabin high in the mountains, although equipped with all the amenities one could possibly ask for, also provided us with something much more we all needed: the opportunity to relax in a serene environment, reconnect and just enjoy the simple things. As I awoke to the picturesque view of the mountains each morning, I felt overwhelmed by God’s presence and incredible handiwork. I felt the Bible verse come to life of “Be still and know that I am God.” What a creator we serve and I was constantly in awe of His creativity. One morning as I took it all in, I couldn’t help but burst out singing Amazing Grace and just had to raise my hands to the heavens in a display of worship as a response to the awesome splendor I was witnessing. It seems nature is something we can often take for granted, yet it is so incredible to take the time to really and truly appreciate it.
The residents of the area were so warm and friendly that they made you feel like family or lifelong friends. My family and I remarked about how easy it would be to settle down there, as the atmosphere was so welcoming. This was especially evident when we attended church in the valley there on Sunday. We went to a church called Wears Valley United Methodist Church, and from the moment we entered, we felt completely at home. With a congregation of under 100 people in attendance that day, they had a motto that was “small enough to care… large enough to serve.” This motto was clearly exemplified with the way they interacted with newcomers. My dad introduced us all and the enthusiastic pastor remarked “This is your family? Well you are blessed.” I must say I am biased, but I do agree! The church had so many great community activities coming up like a Fall Fair, and a back to school potluck, we all wished we would be able to stay a little longer just to get to know the wonderful people a bit more. That is the way they made us feel, so "welcome as the flowers in May" as my Gramma Sudds used to say.
There seemed to be a slower pace, simpler way of life that was evident there that we so admired. It was almost in some ways that we had gone back in time a bit. Sometimes we can so caught up with “keeping up with the Joneses” that we forget what really matters.
I loved how there were bibles everywhere around our cabin, scripture plaques in several restaurants, many gospel music shows to take in, and even t- shirts that said “Jesus Is Lord” on sale at the local Walmart. No there’s something that you don’t see every day where we come from, that's for sure. This area in many aspects was very unapologetically Christian and is was very refreshing. While attending Dollywood in the middle of county music shows the performers broke out into “Just Over In The Glory Land,” and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” with passionate gusto. A remark was made by one of the performers that he was so happy that not only are they allowed to perform gospel songs at Dollywood, but it is actually strongly encouraged. Even at the local Olive Garden restaurant, the waitress explained that they changed their policy of first coming to the table with a bottle of wine to sample, as this protocol did not go over well there in the Bible Belt and was actually offensive to many who did not drink. From a society that has gone so far the opposite way regarding Christianity, it was very interesting to observe to say the least.
We watched lots of Waltons and Andy Griffith reruns at the cabin and I could not help but giggle at the irony of it all! I actually felt that I was living on Waltons mountain with the mountains all around us! Also like the Walton family, who lived with several generations under one roof, we had my parents with us too. Three generations together enjoyed a wonderful time of laughs, bonding and making precious memories we will always cherish. Yes our cabin had TV and Wifi, but that was not our priority. The precious time together was what we most enjoyed and treasured.
Taking time for what really matters is most important. Faith, friends, family, and making memories is so crucial for all of us. It has been said that “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Why do we do that? I am sure we don’t mean to most of the time, yet somehow it still unfortunately happens. I encourage you to get off the fast track and enjoy the slower pace every once in a while. Work and responsibilities will always be there, but opportunities to enjoy the simple things in life may not be. There is a quote on my Facebook page that says “Take vacations. Go to as many places as you can. You can always make money but you can’t always make memories.” Life can get so busy and time goes by so quickly. Let’s not forget to enjoy ourselves along the way! In honour of the Andy Griffith show, I have included a link to the song “ Mayberry,” by Rascal Flatts which talks of many of the things I have touched on in this blog. I miss Mayberry too, but I feel I got a taste of it last week in the Smoky Mountains so I am very grateful! Enjoy!
Psalms 121: 1-2 I lift up to my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth.
Little Lesson Learned: Enjoying the simple things in life is such an absolute pleasure.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014