It was just supposed to be a brief walk to charge my dead phone while we had a window of time. And the next thing I knew we were driving through water.
Deidra and I walked the wet gritty back to the house with computers hanging in bags over our shoulders so I could plug in my phone with a borrowed charger. We met Marcus in the kitchen. He was opening pantry doors to find a glass, while his wife took a nap. He asked if we were interested in driving into Leakey, the little town closest to Laity Lodge.
I looked at Deidra while I catalogued the schedule in my mind. Thinking about the next session and conversations we might miss at the retreat if were gone too long. I let her decide.
She said she was game. I put on my tennis shoes.
We drove through the canyon floor of limestone covered in the Frio like water under cellophane. Pulled up to Leakey Mercantile, where time turned her head and laughed.
Deidra tried on cowboy hats. I scoured aisles of candy cigarettes and cans of green beans the size of tires. Marcus pointed out products on the wooden shelves that were made in Texas.
We stacked salsa, chips and ice cream on the counter under the smile of long-haired string beans wearing hunting caps and faded t-shirts. They held eye contact a bit longer than the customers before us.
I wore my nametag the whole time, forgot I had it on.
Marcus stopped at an overlook on the way back to take in the panoramic view of the 1900-acre ranch in the Hill country where we steeped in peace for three nights, storytelling about the generosity of the landowners as we snapped photos through the chain link.
When he discovered we hadn’t seen Blue Hole yet, we jumped in the car and kept driving. I looked at my watch. That’s when I let go of the schedule to see all of this:
Because sometimes you have to let go of agendas, to-do lists, schedules, and expectations you place on yourself in order to receive the gifts He picks out with you in mind.
And to think I almost missed unwrapping the spontaneous memory I will hold close to my heart for years to come. I’m so glad Deidra said yes.
Do you have a hard time letting go of your schedule and lists to accomplish? How do you respond to unexpected “interruptions”?
This is the third post in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up your post on the topic in the comments on Friday of each week so we can glean from your perspective. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.
Shelly, God rewarded your spontaneity and schedule-deleting with a gift of adventure and azure water. Wow! What a view! This so reminds me, in spirit, of something that happened at my journaling retreat just this past summer–not the same thing, but in principle. I was the last passenger to be taken to my destination from the Denver Airport on a shuttle driven by a Muslim man. We began talking about religions (his and mine) and about God and Christ. He was very open to hearing what I had to say. He told me he usually doesn’t do this, but he hoisted my heavy bags up a long flight of stairs to this Christian retreat center. He set them down and opened his arms in a wide, encompassing arc, as if to take in the whole world and said, “I don’t know what it is, but I feel so much peace here.” I was already over an hour late for the opening session of the retreat, though the leader knew I was on my way. This was a small “circle” of women, so everyone’s presence *counted.* I knew that she could not wait forever, and I was torn between scurrying into the center or talking to this man. Finally, I threw caution to the wind, letting go of my need to be where I was *scheduled* and to stay where I was ordained to be. I pray that God allowed me to plant seeds in the heart of this Muslim man and that one day we will worship the same God. Thank you for this wonderful reminder, Shelly, to let go and “go with the flow” (so to speak! 🙂
Love you! Lynn
Thanks for sharing this story Lynn, really enjoyed it. This kind of thing is what I was thinking about when I wrote this story. About how many times what I thought were interruptions ended up being divine appointments, some of them leading to long term relationships with people.
Thanks for taking time to read it, SHelly. And what you said is exactly what I exp’d!
It’s funny, I am flexible, but also stuck in my routine. When someone ‘pulls’ a change it is hard for me to adapt but as I said I am pretty flexible depending on the circumstance.
I know what you mean Sharon, I’m sort of the same way.
The pictures are breathtaking. Thank you for sharing them and for the reminder to let go every now and then 🙂
It truly is a beautiful place, quite like nothing else I’ve seen yet.
PERFECT. Lovely story, lovely pictures, lovely words. Thanks, Shelly.
You saw Blue Hole! To me this is one of many beautiful creations of our God left on Texas. I love that you stopped to see and find joy in this amazing place. You know you do have to come back to Texas. This is an invitation that is open! I could sit and listen to you for hours.
Thanks Vicki, I hope to take H there, or maybe all of us can go some time. I told him I thought it would be a fabulous place for our leaders to meet.
The one thing I really can let go of is the schedule. I love the spontanaity of life but I do find that others aren’t as game to being that way as I am. I think it would be better for me to actually have a schedule—- and then choose to let go now and then. 🙂 I loved this post but I wish you had pictures of the two (or three) of you swimming in the blue hole—in your clothes! Now that would have been letting go!!!
Oh, I love that, how you aren’t a scheduled person. I knew there would be lots of people like you on the other end of the scope when I wrote this. I do wish we would’ve just jumped in. We both wanted to get in the water really bad, but I think the implications outweighed the spontaneity.
What amazing pictures! I’m registered for the Jumping Tandem Retreat and looking forward to meeting you. 🙂
I saw that somewhere Laura, that you were going. I look forward to meeting you. Can’t wait for that retreat, I’m expectant that God is going to do some amazing things.
I love how God does that… So many times I find myself frustrated in the middle of a situation like that, my focus on where I think I need to be. When suddenly, the bell rings in my head and I realize… Lord, you are giving me a beautiful gift here, aren’t you? 🙂 I can just imagine the glint in his eye as He plans and leads each one. I have been remembering some special ones myself lately, how He’s put me in a place in the right time and blessed me more than I ever knew could happen. So happy He gave you this one!
I think its taken me some years to recognize those moments as gifts and not a nuisance to my schedule. Its one gift of maturity, the ability to see life differently.
I wish you could have had the adventure AND make it to the session! But the fun is irreplaceable and almost always the more delightful possibility. So glad to read about your trip!
Me too Ann. Actually when we got back, those who participated in the panel discussion were not happy about things that were said. I felt I didn’t miss anything in the end.
Thanks for the “lesson” I so needed this day! I’ve been struggling with trying to get it all done, and it’s not happening — I think He’s trying to tell me something and He used you. 🙂
So glad God used this to speak to you Sherrey, it makes it all worth every minute. I’ve had to let so many things go this week myself, still have a full suitcase laying in my bedroom.
Thank you for the reminder that letting go of schedules and to-do lists can sometimes be the doorway to pre-ordained blessings and opportunities. But for me to let go takes more than a tap on the shoulder and a gentle invitation. To get my attention often requires a bop on the head and a shout! Oh, Lord, forgive me for being overly concerned about meeting the expectations of others, or those I’ve placed on myself. Open my eyes to see the wide vistas of your love and glory, just beyond the Hill of Expectations.
Nancy, I think you are in good company. Sometimes it takes hearing a message more than once for me to “get it”. Glad you stopped by.
Perfect example of heeding a whisper and going with the flow…
Would you believe I haven’t seen Blue Hole up and personal yet? Just from “on high.” I need to schedule that next year. 😉
And I haven’t even seen it from on high. Sigh.
Oh my Diana, I’m so sorry you missed that. Maybe next time?
oh no, I can’t believe that Sandy. I guess I was really fortunate then. I hope you get to see it next year, its worth every minute. Especially for those of us with cameras strapped to our shoulder.
Beautiful words and snapshots of your impromptu experience. I’ve longed to be at the Laity Lodge retreat since I learned of it two years ago…maybe some day. In the meantime, I loved living vicariously through your post here. Looks like you had a wonderful time.
Look! It’s me! Sneaky you!
That side trip we took? It’s one of my favorite memories. Love you!
So, so glad you did this! Those spontaneous surprises are the best. And I hadn’t seen that new footbridge, so I needed you to go and take a picture of it for me. 🙂
I think it had only been up a few days, it was brand spankin’new. Deidra ran across.
Did we miss a session? Oops! I thought we were just hanging out during the afternoon.
And to think that it never occurred to me that you might not want to see Blue Hole. 🙂
That day was one of the highlights for me too. You two were such great fun.
Oh no, I definitely wanted to see Blue Hole, I was just torn between two things I really wanted to do. I think we picked the right one for sure. Thanks for taking us on a beautiful journey. You are quite lucky to be able to take it all in on a regular basis. It was so fun meeting you and your lovely wife Marcus. Hope it won’t be the last time hanging out with you and Deidra.
what a beautiful smooth stone
to carry in your pocket…..it’s wise weight
will speak for years to come.
(and now you’ve given me a stone for my own
pocket to carry and hold dear:))
Travelling pilgrims with collected stones in our pockets and some days we link arms and walk slow on the journey. Thanks for being here Jennifer.