Three Weekends – Three Different Experiences

This is a post devoid of video games but full of life!  I’ve spent the past few weeks travelling.  Each weekend trip had a different destination and a purpose.

Recreation of some Norman Rockwell (in progress)

Recreation of some Norman Rockwell (in progress)

Trip 1 – Savannah, GA:  As I mentioned in a previous post, I drove down to Savannah, GA to visit my son at SCAD.  As I was driving down, I tried to remember what I had appreciated the most from a visit while I was in college over twenty years ago.  At the time, I appreciated food and I appreciated getting away from the campus, so I resolved in my mind to focus on those two things – and of course to listen to my son as we spent time together to find out what his needs might be.

Drawing of Random Items on a Table

Drawing of Random Items on a Table

As expected, he was pretty eager to get away from his cramped dorm room so we went to the local Super Target to stock up on any needed supplies.  We bought some cereal, milk, and some snacks.  Apparently, Hot Pockets are also a necessary element of college survival.  His choice for lunch was the local Mellow Mushroom, and he seemed genuinely thrilled to be taking some of the leftovers back to his room.  He has been doing so well in college.

Imaginary Creature from his Color Theory class

Imaginary Creature from his Color Theory class

He has made the Dean’s List and is growing so much as an artist and as a person.  Truly, his art just gets better and better.  We spent the evening watching the movie A Good Day to Die Hard at the movie theater.  Going to movies and reviewing the movies afterward is one of our favorite things to do (other than video games!)   We even made a spontaneous recording called, The Drive Home, in which we reviewed the movie during the drive home – while the movie was fresh on our minds.  Click on the link for the audio.  (Warning: contains spoilers).  It was a lot of fun for both of us.

The Drive Home-A Good Day to Die Hard (Spoilers)

Trip 2 – Snowshoe, WV:  During the month of February, I sometimes travel to Snowshoe Ski Resort  along with my two older brothers and some friends of my middle brother, Craig.  I think that once upon a time, this was a “guys gone wild” kind of weekend, but now since most the men are in their forties and fifties it has become more of a “guys hobbling around” experience.  Most of the guys hit the black diamonds, but my oldest brother, Ken, and I stayed on the greens and blues.

A view from the slopes at Snowshoe, WV

A view from the slopes at Snowshoe, WV

In my mind I was comparing the ski experience to my recent December trip to Park City, UT.  I honestly have to say that the skiing is very good at both places but the western ski experience ranks slightly higher.  How wild were our evenings?

I know how to party

I know how to party

We spent an evening playing “Mathmet”  – a customized game based on a Yahtzee-like game called Kismet.  Craig is a math teacher and uses the game to help his students improve their quick-fire addition skills.  We also spent an evening just watching movies together.  We watched The Shawshank Redemption on the AMC channel, and I have to tell you, that the commercials almost killed me.  Especially the way they increase the quantity of them toward the end of the movie.  It is no wonder that the world is going the direction of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and other forms of video streaming.

Men's Retreat 2013

Men’s Retreat 2013

Trip 3 – Black Mountain, NC:  My third weekend was spent at the “Man to Man” retreat at Ridgecrest Center in Black Mountain.  I traveled with a friend from my men’s group and we were also roommates throughout the weekend.  The facilities there were almost like staying in a hotel with comfortable rooms and a good cafeteria.  There was even a Starbucks located on the campus.  The focus of the weekend was on the overwhelming, generous love of God.  I remember a quote that the speaker talked about.  It was by Catherine of Siena (don’t ask me who she is!) and she said something to the effect of, “You were drunk with love, infatuated with your creature.”  I don’t regularly hear comparisons of God and drunkenness very often so it caught my attention.  But I started to think about how love can affect us – even on a human level we dedicate movies, books, and video games to the subject of love.  It awakens us.  It stimulates us.  It creates a whole new world of thoughts and feelings.  I know that when I became a father, I discovered a sensation a love that I had never known before.  I spent the retreat thinking about God’s love and was especially impacted during a time of solitude and prayer.  I found a hiking trail and just started to follow it.

Ridgecrest in the NC Mountains

Ridgecrest in the NC Mountains

I guess I stopped about halfway up the mountain, looked around at the mountains and valleys, and just said, “Wow, you did a really good job here.”  I’ve walked with Christ for almost thirty years and every day I find something new to amaze me.  It was a great weekend with friends and music.

Each trip was different.  I was a father for the first, a brother for the second, and a friend for the third.  I didn’t realize it, but it was somewhat a trinitarian experience for me.  For all three trips, it felt great to come home.  I am thankful that I have a place where I can feel safe and comfortable.  The shower always feels better than the ones on the road – and the bed is always more comfortable.  The sheets and blankets just feel perfect and there is nothing better than sleep beside someone you love.   Coming home to my wife and my dog is the best part of travel.

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