Leave is coveted in our home.
This leave took us outdoors to the Appalachian Mountains.
Hiking there is beautiful (Appalachian Trail, anyone?)—and this family loves to hike—with the exception of our little princess, who only likes it for the first 5 minutes, then spends the rest of the time begging daddy to carry her.
She’ll come around.
Anyway, my husband is very familiar with the particular area we were in as he has done some training there before. He is also trying his best to talk me into retiring there, so he thought a scenic drive would help convince me. Car sickness aside, it’s very beautiful!
We ended up on a gravel cut-through road going up a mountain. The Appalachian Trail switchbacks across this gravel road several times—as this road is VERY long. As we near the peak, there is an intersection and we slow to turn—now mind you we had not passed ONE single car or person for MANY miles—I look to my left and see an older man sitting on the ground.
It had just finished pouring rain.
He was cold, wet, and muddy.
I look over and say “OH, there’s a hiker!”
The hiker stands up and motions for us to stop.
He’s wearing blue jeans (which I cannot imagine would be comfortable to hike in) and a plain white t-shirt, covered in mud.
He had a fanny pack with two water bottles hanging off of it.
And there on his hip, was a VERY large knife in a leather case.
Around his neck, were the weirdest glasses I had ever seen, as they looked broken. They were split at the bridge of the nose and when he pulled them up to put them on, a magnet connected them.
Those glasses drew my attention to his eyes.
My husband asks how he’s doing and he replies:
“I’m waiting on my wife to pick me up. I’m just too old for this. I don’t know what I was thinking. Do y’all have any water you could spare?”
We gave him water, but he would only take one bottle.
He said he hadn’t had any in a few days and he had stopped there because he just so happened to get phone reception, but he was worried that his wife wouldn’t find him because she had never been up that way before.
He asked where we were and what road we were on, hoping he might be able to talk her in.
He looked around 70 years old.
We offered him a ride and you could tell he thought about it for a second, but said “no, I better wait. I don’t want to miss my wife”.
While my husband was working the GPS, I was chit chatting with him. He said he used to live near the area, but had moved to Homosassa, Florida.
My daddy just so happened to graduate high school from there, so we talked about that for a second.
When my husband told him exactly where we were, we offered him our phones to use so he could save the battery on his, but he wouldn’t and he called Sheila and left her a message.
He said the last time he had heard from her, she had stopped to ask a mail carrier which way to go.
Again we asked him if he wanted a ride, it was starting to rain.
Again, he said no and thanked us for the water.
As we pulled away, my husband said “he’ll probably end up sleeping there tonight. I wish he would have taken more water. His wife will have a very hard time finding him because these roads aren’t marked”.
We drive and I just say a simple prayer:
“Lord, please let that man’s wife find him”.
And then a thought occurs to me as we’re driving down this mountain on a gravel road: you’ll never know if she found him.
You’ll spend the rest of your life wondering.
Remember the old man we saw on top of the mountain? I wonder if his wife ever found him?
Not knowing is torture for a control freak like myself.
I literally have to remind myself that I am NOT in control ALL the time.
And you know what? The enemy knows that about me too. Which is why I combat thoughts, such as the one above, endlessly.
But, this time, I just whispered the prayer again.
God sees that man on the mountain top.
Again, we see no cars on the gravel road, that ends near the edge of town.
We stop for some grub and hit the road again, heading back home, headed back west, about 45 minutes from the gravel road.
My husband sees a sign for a state park and says “you know, I’ve always wanted to stop there”.
And I say “we’re not in a hurry, let’s stop”.
Amicalola Falls State Park
We pay our parking fee and pull up for a map.
I sat in the car as my husband, kids, and nephew got out to get the map and use the restroom.
I’m looking down, but when I look up, I see piercing blue eyes staring back at me.
I think, “where do I know this man from, I’m not from here”.
He keeps walking, but looks again at me and heads in my direction.
Then I see the weird glasses hanging around his neck.
His wife found him.
I roll down the window and say “SHE FOUND YOU!!! THANK GOD!!!”
He laughs and says “I thought that was you! You probably didn’t recognize me not wet and muddy”.
I was in shock.
I don’t even really remember the rest of the conversation because I was so excited.
He walks away to the other side of a big truck. I never saw Sheila or the car they were in.
My eyes swell with tears.
Thank you, Jesus for blessing me with the knowledge of knowing he was found.
WHAT A BLESSING!
My husband comes to the car and I am yelling with excitement about who I just saw!!!
And my husband looks at me like I’m crazy.
“There’s no way” he says.
“We left him less than an hour ago. We never saw a car and why on earth would they have came straight here? Where would he have even taken a shower?”
I know why they came straight there.
Because God is good.
He loves his children.
And he wanted this child to know that He loves her.
He hears her prayers.
He knows exactly where she is.
He knew I needed that encouragement.
Thank you, Jesus!
As we walk up the trail leading the falls, I look at my husband and say “he was an angel”.
Again, I got the crazy look with a smile:)
The waterfall was even more beautiful that day, overcast and all, 600 stairs and all.