Today I ventured upwards in the great state of Michigan. This is a most glorious time of year as the reds and oranges and yellows are in full bloom, painted on the trees. This is my second fall trip by myself and I went expecting a great adventure, and God has not disappointed me. I took my time today getting to the guest house I am renting for the next few nights. I got in the car. Invited God to join me. Buckled up and took the official road trip first selfie and off I went! I stopped for breakfast and coffee. Gassed up the car and put sufficient air in my tires. I took the most scenic route and it was just beautiful. I finally stopped at a rest area about an hour from my location. Spent a little time stretching my legs and snacking. Then back on the road I went.
Maybe ten minutes down the road I happened upon this road side park. I did not need to stop but something told me to. I stopped. I started walking down this tree lined drive, taking photos of course. This man pulled up beside me as he was leaving and said to me, “Go all the way to the end. You will not want to miss it.” I thanked him for the heads up, but little did he know the end he was talking about was not where I ended up. I chose the thin path into the woods, praying the rain would hold off.
As I walked I could smell the pine. I could feel the fall. I saw the colors pop. I walked until I came to this amazing overlook. The river. The pine trees. The colors. The acorns. The pinecones. I was in absolute awe at the beauty of this place. It was way more than just a river at the end of boat launce which the man had spoke of. So much more. I felt secure. I felt happy. I wanted to stay here awhile. As I was taking in the glory of the view and snapping photos I came across this sign and the tears began to flow. In that moment of time I missed my dad. I missed his smile and his laugh. I missed everything about him when I saw what was nailed to a tree in the woods.
My dad’s name was Ed. He passed away in February of 2019. I realized standing on the hill looking out over the water that I had never fully mourned his passing. My husband at the time had decided to remodel my fathers home two days after he passed. I was so wrapped up in the turmoil of the house, I never took the time to truly grieve losing my dad. And now, as the house still stands gutted out and I am divorced, I wonder what he would say. But here on this hill, that did not matter. I was able to take the time I needed to remember my dad. The man whom I called dad. The man who did the best he could to raise his adopted daughter. The man who rescued me more times than I can remember. I still remember as we were saying good-bye at the end. “You were a good dad.” His response. “You were a good kid.”
I wandered a little farther down the path and found this sign about what the river says and I just had to laugh. It is exactly something my dad would have said. My journey has not been an easy one. Wrong choices. Difficult paths. But yet my dad always stood by my side and loved me through the messes. He was a man of great integrity and would help anyone in need. He did not have all the answers for life but he had the compassion to help you get through.
I continued on my hike until I felt I was at the end of this journey of letting go, grieving and saying goodbye. As I walked back over the beds of leaves and back to the splendor of the river I imagined my dad sitting on this bench and admiring the view. He loved trees and for me to imagine him sitting there taking in the beauty of this river made my heart happy. I know this place was not named after my dad. I doubt my dad had ever been there, yet I felt it was a place he would visit if he knew if was there.
So the first day is almost over. I am snuggled in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the river and trees and color and quiet. I know God is here. I also know He lead me to that overlook. I had a divine appointment today and I am grateful I stopped to witness it. In all of my wanderings, God has never left my side. Even in the times where I felt abandoned and alone, He was there. I am thankful to have this time alone to just reconnect with God. I feel we take Him for granted so many times in our lives. He wants us to find the secret places. Today I could have passed right by that road side park. I would have missed it. I would have missed the secret place God wanted to show me.
I encourage you to go wander. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours or a day. Get away with God. Let Him lead you to a treasure. Let Him take you to a place of healing. Allow Him to remove pain from your life. Let Him show you just how much He loves you. I assure you, if you invite Him, He will show up. He delights in spending time with you. I loves you and wants to share so many secret treasures with you. I promise, He won’t disappoint and you might just discover and part of you that needs only what He can give. Only God could have given me Ed’s Lookout. No one else could have set that up.