Travel Adventures, on the Road in Charleston, SC

Industrial Fumes, Sluggish Drains, and Wasps

The afternoon we checked into our hotel, it was filled with young baseball teams and Sweet 16 Party guests. The hotel was overflowing with people, young and old. Leaving for dinner, we watched eight moms in trendy boots and casual slacks walk through the parking lot. Welcome to Charleston. Our dinner was at a place receiving high marks on a website we frequent when traveling. My highest marks for this establishment were for my table location. I faced the women’s restroom.

The next morning we drove to one of the historic areas of Charleston, leaving our hotel room window open for the day. Returning to our room after sightseeing, a chemical smell stung my nose the second my husband opened the door. He didn’t notice. I hurriedly re-opened the window and door, propping them open to get rid of the odor. I called the front desk. They sent the housekeeping director to see us. She said, “Oh, now I remember, there was a bunch of wasps in the room. Maintenance sprayed to kill them.” I thought great, now what? She offered us dinner while she brought in an ozone machine to deodorize our room. “Give me 45 minutes,” she said. “This is a powerful machine.” The odor still lingered when we returned from dinner. Deciding to change rooms to get away from the smell, we quietly moved to the vacant room next door during a lively reception two doors from our now chemically enhanced room. The door to the reception was open. Reception guests probably didn’t realize that a nearby neighbor had moved.

View from Fleet's Landing Restaurant, Charleston

View from Fleet’s Landing Restaurant, Charleston

The next morning, my husband took his shower in a growing pool of water. The tub drain was clogged. He went to breakfast leaving me to wait for maintenance to clear the drain before I showered. A mid-thirty year old man who could have been a double for actor Peter Lorre arrived. He left the security latch open, keeping his hands clasped like a clamshell both times he walked out of the bathroom carrying something. “The drain was clogged with hair. I cleaned it out, he said.” I imagined the dripping water from his clamshell hands hitting the carpet like breadcrumbs dropping through a hole in the bottom of a bag. Never forget to pack flip flops in case a Peter Lorre look alike shows up posing as a maintenance man.

The maid arrives early. “I’ll need five minutes,” I said. I open the door to leave, she is sitting on the couch, in the smelly dark room we evacuated the evening before. I interrupt her time on her cell phone to tell her I am leaving. I check both ends of the hall to make a quick dash for the elevator. I’m going to Starbucks, looking forward to finding some normal people.

Night three, we discovered that the toilet leaks Our friendly neighbors are hosting another reception. We can’t change rooms. An unsuspecting guest has occupied the fumigated, now ozonated room we evacuated. We’re sleeping with the window open, thinking the wasps that survived the Peter Lorre and associates fumigation will be sleeping unless the neighbor’s party wakes them.

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Leverage

Leverage

Arriving in a rural Georgia town, my husband announced that he forgot to bring his medication with him. We went to a pharmacy to get a small supply for the days we would be away. “You will have to call your pharmacy or your doctor for authorization,” the pharmacist informed us.

Most of our prescriptions are filled through mail-order suppliers. We didn’t have the prescription number with us. We began making phone calls. After a half hour on the telephone, we finally obtained authorization for the prescription.

A week later, we talked with a woman at a local hotel who was running into brick walls trying to assist families working through the maze of social service agencies. Her experiences ended in frustrating encounters with people she expected to be helpful.

We contacted one of the agencies she talked with, asking them to meet with the woman to address her concerns. The agency agreed to contact her. More than a month later, the woman has not heard from anyone. All she wants is to tell someone what she experienced. We contacted the agency a second time. They again agreed to talk with the woman. Another month has gone by. The woman hasn’t heard from anyone. It is frustrating. I wonder how this woman must feel. Would you feel like no one cared for your concerns if the same thing happened to you?

People living below the poverty line have no power, not by their choice or by their circumstances. Their voice isn’t often heard. People living in poverty have nothing to leverage. They are limited because of poverty.

Emmaus (Luke 24:1-35)

Emmaus
(Luke 24:1-35)

The Apostle Paul lived with a thorn in the flesh that limited him. Three different times [Paul] begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, NLT)

I believe that Christ empowers us to help people living in poverty whose voices can’t be heard in the silence of indifference.

Road Trip Gifts

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A luncheon guest gave me a copy of her recently published book. At a Maryland rest stop, Black Eyed Susans were in full bloom. 

Hosting gatherings of family and friends were priceless gifts.

The house at Ocean Grove turned out to be a near-perfect place to host family and friends at God’s Square Mile on the Jersey Shore.IMG_2457

 

 

 

Shopping for groceries at Wegmans was a gift. We looked forward to our daily trip to Wegmans.

We adjusted our original road trip schedule to attend Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit at Ocean Grove. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear Louie Giglio, GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, Tyler Perry and many more leadership experts.

Road Trips can be a quiet time away from over-scheduled calendars, telephones, emails and to-do lists. One never knows what kinds of gifts wait to be opened.

Are you familiar with the movie Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton who was attacked by a shark while surfing in Hawaii? A speaker at a recent writers workshop is an editor for a Christian teen magazine, Sisterhood. Her presentation was great but I had no idea how it would impact me in the days to come. About a month after the workshop, I learned my granddaughter liked surfing, then I recalled the presentation. The speaker talked about Bethany Hamilton. During coffee with the mom of a 12 year old, I asked her if she knew about Bethany Hamilton. “We just finished a study of the movie. I have it. Would you like to borrow it?” she replied. I purchased the movie bundled with the downloadable study guide and gave it to my granddaughter, along with the magazine article and a subscription.  What happens next is in God’s hands.

On Sunday, Andy Stanley said, “You have no idea and I have no idea what God is up to in the world.” Stanley said, “I can’t, He can, He can through me.”

When you are on the road, look for what God is up to in the world. The 12 year old’s mom calls moments such as these “God winks.”