Sometimes you just have to see things for yourself – you can’t get the whole picture any other way. First hand accounts never properly set the environment, photos can lie, and phone calls don’t provide the kind of details and salient descriptions you need to gain a true perception of something. Our curiosity is piqued but never satisfied until our own senses are personally involved.
I recently embarked on a small pilgrimage to New Hampshire in order to visit with old friends I haven’t seen for thirty years. A small group of us made the trek, and after seventeen hours on the road, we lumbered into the small town of Gorham – exhausted, a little giddy, and full of the kind of anticipation only a small child on Christmas morning can understand. We didn’t know for sure what awaited us, but we suspected considerable potential.
Northern New Hampshire flies a little bit under the radar down here in the so-called sophisticated East. I certainly knew in advance it would be beautiful, but I wasn’t ready for the actual magnitude of it all. Granted, New Hampshire can’t equal the Grand Canyon when it comes to breath-taking; doesn’t rival the Alps or Rockies in the awe-inspiring majesty department. And there’s something about the sheer nobility of the great Southwestern desert that’s completely incomparable to everyplace else. It seems unfair to even attempt a comparison to such awe-inspiring destinations, but New Hampshire has a secret weapon to go along with its indescribable views, unique wildlife, and pristine wilderness. People. Some of the hardest-working, genuinely pleasant, down-to-earth and aware people make their home there, and make no mistake – these folks are as much a part of the panorama as anything else. Plus, my long lost friends of over thirty years are among them.
That should set the stage well enough, except to add that suddenly I was there as well, newly inserted within this piece of paradise, looking at familiar faces from half-a-life ago, wishing I had aged as well, and hoping we had more to say to each other than “hello, how are you, nice view.” Well, you know the answer to that already. It’s highly unlikely I’d spend this much time trashing old friends and disparaging the memories of my youth, but I don’t think the imaginations of a dozen lifetimes could have prepared me for how small that thirty-year separation actually proved to be.
My friends are fine, in case you’re wondering. Better than fine – they’re spectacularly outstanding. Their lives are full of all the right things, and I don’t know how, but there’s still room in their hearts and minds for me. It would be reasonable to expect at least a few insurmountable obstacles, but I could never have anticipated how perfectly seamless it would be. I never could have imagined needing to travel so far to learn that some attachments are lifelong. And while I have no intention of filling in the gaps of my story with personal details and heart-warming anecdotes, I will say how grateful I am that New Hampshire was the backdrop. God must surely go there when He needs a vacation, so what better place to reaffirm the true meaning of friendship and love.
I don’t know when I’ll get back there again. Soon, I hope – that’s the plan, but life has a way of deciding things for you sometimes. People get sick, disaster strikes, accidents occur… Sometimes, you just get bogged down in the small stuff and before you know it, thirty years have passed. At my age, another thirty years is not an option. At least now I know where I’m going, and with the glorious New Hampshire as part of the equation… Well, sometimes you just have to see things for yourself. Thank God.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.