The Long Road

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There is just something that keeps calling me back. Maybe it’s a fear that the good memories will fade with time unless I trace over and again the path to all I have become. Driving familiar roads making note of the things that remain; only older, warn and broken down. Grieving, in a small way, the things that are no longer there; houses, grocery stores, barns. Time seems the robber of memories. But what we do remember must be met with the reality that someone remembers those things differently, if at all. We remember events, people and places according to the effect that they had on our lives. Perhaps we remember them as obstacles in our path while someone remembers them as the challenge they needed to push them to achieve more. No matter how we remember those things, they are etched in our minds somewhere. Whether we choose to remember or not, they can creep to the front of our mind.

Most would not know about a little town in Iowa called Clarion. But when I hear mention of this community, I smile and my thoughts are quickly turned to Highway 3 and the straight route to Aunt Lois and Uncle Bob’s house. Turn left, cross the railroad tracks, go past the elevator and turn left once more. There on the left still stands memories that have been with me since I was a little girl. It is where Bob and Lois helped me to understand the Christ in Christmas. It was there that I rode ponies with my cousin Kevin and learned to ride a go-cart. Because of the distance between my home and theirs, I wasn’t able to go there as often as I would have liked but I was determined to stay in touch. I didn’t want them to forget me and I didn’t want to ever forget them. I wrote letters to my aunt and uncle and waited anxiously to receive a returned letter in the mail from them. When I would receive one of their letters, I would read them over and over again until the next one arrived. I would write about school and family and anything that I wished I could tell them in person. They encouraged me to keep writing and to keep working on my music. Lois and Bob were my cheerleaders and just what I needed at that time in my life. I have never lost contact with this dear family and as often as I can, I turn my car toward central Iowa and Highway 3 just to receive the warm hugs and to enjoy times of reminiscing. We talk about family, friends and faith. We talk about dreams and ideas and grandkids and anything that happened between visits.

I drove that same old route last week, not just for a visit, but to lay my Uncle Bob to rest. On my way into town I stopped my car and walked a few paces in to where I had stood in May of 2006 as we laid my dear Aunt Lois to rest. I stood there for a few minutes to thank God for her influence on my life. I recalled her laugh and how much I loved to hear it, wishing that I could hear it once more. I didn’t stay there for too long because it was cold and windy. I was on my way to meet with my cousins. It was the night of the visitation that is customary the evening before the final goodbyes are said. My uncle Bob, who inspired me with his zest for life at 95 years old was now gone. I immediately sought out Judy and my cousins to offer my condolences and to observe as what seemed to be the entire community coming to pay their respects. I heard people saying how much they loved Bob and Lois and the impact that they had made on so many lives. I was proud in that moment to be a part of this family. We spent lots of time together this weekend reminiscing. We laughed and we shared tears. So many memories and so much love in one family. I am so glad that I made this trip to remember and to learn more about the family that has been so kind to me and to so many.

The road back to Iowa changes with time. Barns that once were bright red and standing tall are faded and peeling if not completely gone. Houses that once were full of life stand empty and dilapidated with weeds so tall that it’s no longer possible to see the path that leading to the door. People and places that were my reason to travel are slowly disappearing.

Somehow, though, I am able to replay the laughter over and over again. I can retrace each step taken and each mile driven to keep those memories alive. I hope never to forget and selfishly…never to be forgotten.

I don’t know the roads that you have traveled in life. But I hope that as you read this, you are taken to a place in your mind that brings you fond memories. I hope that no matter where you’ve been that you have found a peace that passes all understanding and that you have found God in the midst of it all

This post was written by Amy L. Potts. Amy is a motivational speaker for church services and special events. She is passionate about empowering people to be all that they have been designed to be. Combined with humor, scripture and a dose of real life, she will encourage your congregation or event participants to get up and out into the community to encourage others.

You may contact Amy at 913-205-0301 or amylpotts@outlook.com

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