Friday, August 22, 2008

THE BOOK AND THE CUP -- AN OASIS IN PLYMOUTH


Milton, here for Kristy:

Traveling alone is tough when you know that your beloved will never sit in the car seat next to you again. We traveled thousands of miles across the South and America and other parts of the world for ministry and fun. Now I am alone. It is very, very different.

On Wednesday when I left Rocky Mount, driving to Manteo brought back all kind of memories and emotions. I kept looking at that empty seat next to me. I did feel the presence of the Lord and I knew that many people were praying for me. My mind was having mental communication with Kristy as it had so many trips before, but now there wasn't a response. We had driven miles and miles and talked without saying a word, and then talked for more miles with endless discussions. Now it was all one sided. My mind was talking but there was no response except memories and questions.

I thought that it would be nice to stop somewhere along my drive for a lunch in an out-of-the-way place like Kristy and I had done so many times. Driving Hwy 64 took me through a number of small towns. Finally I passed through Plymouth and saw a sign that pointed to the downtown. The sign noted a river and the historic area, and I like rivers so I turned left off the main road toward town.

The Methodist Church caught my attention so I stopped for a few pictures. The graves next to the church were looming. Some of the markers dated back to 1808. I could hear distant stories speaking from those markers. Two hundred years ago hearts broke like mine. The past months entered my mind. I was alone. No one to take a picture of me at this church. Loneliness settled close. I left and drove farther into town.

Plymouth is small town America. It is a place that Andy and Barney would stroll down its main street with Barney looking for cars parked in no parking zones. I hunted for a diner. There was a deli and coffee shop on the river. Hey, I like the sound of the name of this spot -- The Book And The Cup. Kristy would have enjoyed stopping here so I parked and headed inside. There are times that quietness is a blessed feeling, but it was too quiet right now.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could meet someone to chat with while eating? The local deputy was having lunch. A grandmother and her grandchildren were in line behind me. There was a older man with his granddaughter eating on the back porch overlooking the river. They were all preoccupied--I didn't want to bother them so I ate alone.

I was about to leave when I overheard a man mention to the deputy that he was from Florida. Where, I wondered? In a moment he walked past my table and I spoke up and asked, "What part of Florida are you from? I'm from Jacksonville."

He said, "I just moved here from Brooksville."

"Do you know a pastor there by the name of Dave Garcia," I asked?

"He was a good friend of mine," the man responded.

"I have preached for Dave many times. I am a minister on a sabbatical from my church. My wife just passed and I am away for a few weeks to let God renew my mind and spirit," I said. It all just poured out of me before I knew what I was saying.

Kindness reflected in his face. He felt my pain. There was empathy, not mere sympathy.
"I'm so sorry," Hank said.

I could tell he understood.

"My first wife passed," he said. "It was tough, but God helped me through it. God is faithful."

We chatted a few moments and then his friends walked up and he introduced them and along with his wife. I shared more about Kristy and her writing and this blog. Hank's friends were from England. I could tell they all loved the Lord. The Cup and The Book became an oasis for a few moments for a hurting traveler.

I needed to leave to get to Manteo to see Ron and Judy, but before I left, I asked the deputy to take a picture of me with these God sent comforters, Hank and Sheila and Graham and Brenda. `
Aren't christian friends the best. Making new friends, even for a few moments, is a blessing--especially when your hurting.

I will reach out more. Someone needs a kind word.

There were no Twinkies in The Cup and The Book.

17 Comments:

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy your trip to small town america - i know andy and barney would be neat to meet, but maybe you could bump into gomer, goober or ernest t. bass - not that would brighten you day, huh? praying for you and your journey my friend, we love you.

mike and jeannie tedder

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Pam Meyers said...

Milton, your account brought tears to my eyes at how God provides just what we need at the moment. That was definitely a divine appointment!

I love the name of that place, The Book and Cup. Any writer would love it and I can just see Kristy getting excited at finding it!

I sent you an email at your AOL account yesterday. Did you get it?

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Karen Eve said...

I understand the difficulties of traveling alone, although I was not married as long as you. Even without a recent loss it can be lonely at times, but I have chosen not to miss out on seeing what is around me when I travel for business or missions. Daddy God is so amazing how he leads us to our brothers and sisters, wherever we're at. Praying for God to contineue blessing you on your journey and giving you special moments. He is preparing you for the rest of your ministry and life. Plymouth looks like a great little place - is it in NC also?
Blessings,

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I'm happy you met those people. Isn't the Lord good to know just what we need? I am glad you are taking this time to travel and touch base with others. We continue to pray for you and the girls.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger GloreyB said...

Milton - I was in another province recently and a girl that waited us on told us "this is just a summer job" which of course gave me an open door to ask about her life. She explained to me that she was taking honours in Psychology. My response was "ah, so you are going to figure out the world huh?" And she graciously smiled and chit chatted a little. Before I left, I asked her if she would like a tidbit of advice that would take her a long way. "Sure." Was her response. "Dolly, every person, every single person you will come across has their stuff. We all have our wounds. Even though it may seem like it, no one has it all together." A word aptly spoken is like words of gold in settings of silver.
Isn't so like our Father to send you a new friend exactly when you needed the encouragement and fellowship of His children. God is good. In the midst of all our trials and in the midst of life - He still IS.
Blessings.

Luke 1:3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

There is much value in your struggle and travels....


Glorey

 
At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton, Have you read the Mitford Series by Jan Karon? The setting is small town N.C. and the main character in the series is an episcapalian priest who is about our age in the first book. I think that you would love it.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Kathy Collard Miller said...

We're all still reading and listening.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Blissful said...

What a great testimony of God answering prayer for companionship. Thanks so much.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

How good to be sent comforters. I love that attribute of God - El Roi, God sees me.

Another pastor, this one in Washington, has just lost his wife to a brain tumor. Karen Harter, another ACFW member and published author, is now dancing with Kristy. I think Pam Meyers sent you some information of them.

I'm praying God will renew your spirit, Milton, and while you may be alone, that you'll not be lonely.

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton, when I first started traveling by myself, I put in Christian tapes to listen to. That way, I was never alone. He was right there with me. What a great time to have conversations with Him just like Elijah!!

You are in my prayers. What a wonderful testimony you're doing to how God is working in your life.

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...

This post brought tears to my eyes, aren't God's children wonderful.

 
At 5:16 PM, OpenID conisong said...

What a great looking place. Makes me want to go make a cup of coffee and curl up on my couch with a good book.
Thanks Milton.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger DayleShockley said...

Like Pam, this account had me reaching for my trusty box of Kleenex. Very moving. God is so faithful.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

A moving post. I related to it more than I wish. Mark it for a chapter in your book.

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is so good, God is so good!
God is so good, He's so good to Me!

How wonderful to know how sensitive God is to our needs! You bless me so!

 
At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a marvelous inspiration to us all! It was good having dinner with you and Terry while you were in Columbia.
Amazing divine direction as you drove off the main path..yet into the right path of "new friends". It's truly a small world after all. May the Lord keep His divine hand upon you at all times..and let the Holy Spirit comfort you..He does it so well!
Between here and heaven there may be rougher paths ahead..but have no fear..the Lord always guides the faithful who seek Him..and keeps them in the palm of His hand.
When your in His hand..that's when I believe you find "The Twinkies"..
Enjoy them...
Love and Prayers...
Steve & Darlene
Columbia, SC

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Barbara J. Robinson said...

What a name for the place. I love it, and I know Kristy would've, too. I'm glad you found Christian friends and some comfort and got someone to take your picture.

Blessings,
Barb

 

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