Simple Pleasures

Doreen and Marcela

Doreen and Marcela

Having suffered the humid temperatures of San Antonio,Texas for nine days, it surely was a relief on my arrival home to feel the cool San Francisco breezes. However, I should not complain about the humidity back in Texas because the locals told us that the weather was abnormal for the time of year and normally they are enjoying three digit temperatures!

When I came to America I knew I would want to take advantage of every adventure that would teach life’s lessons. Yes, the majority of Americans believe in taking advantage of every education opportunity, but I often wonder how many are willing to step out of their comfort zone and mingle with those who face real challenges every day of their lives. I have always loved people. I could not be someone who lives far away on a deserted mountain. I have to see people, hear people, talk to people. I guess I am also a people watcher.

Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Three of us planned to travel together to our church’s General Conference in San Antonio. However one of the friends could not join us until three days later. My other friend and I decided we would catch the Greyhound bus and experience that long haul to Texas. An adventure for sure! We could afford the time, she being a school employee and on summer holidays, and my schedule being flexible. When we told our friends we were traveling this way we heard statements like “The stinky bus” and “There are too many crazy people on there.” This is where stepping out of my comfort zone plays a part. After all, I left my homeland for the first time on the only remaining Royal Mail Ship, the RMS St Helena, I have flown with the American Army and the Royal Air Force, traveled via train through Great Britain, traveled via train from California to Oregon, I have flown from sea to sea, so why not experience the Greyhound bus. Stinky will not kill us! Crazy will not kill us! If anything at all it will “drive” us!

The Greyhound bus was very clean and modern and it was also running on schedule. We left San Jose in the wee hours of the morning. After boarding we settled in for a good sleep. The daylight hours were pretty interesting with the Border Patrol coming on board when we came near the Mexican Border. I do not carry my Permanent Resident card, except for going abroad, so I did not have it with me; when the Patrol came aboard and asked for all non-American citizens to show their ID, I was alarmed. When the officer came to me I showed my California Drivers License and told him my story about never carrying my card, except for international travel. He told me sternly, but kindly, that I should always have it with me. He acknowledged my Drivers License. Phew! Yes sir!! I hear you!! That was a narrow escape. Later on a few passenger arguments occurred, for one of them the bus driver was compelled to mediate. I began to wonder if these were the “crazies” we had heard about. There were several stops on the way for meal times and bathroom breaks, smoke breaks, stretch breaks or any breaks under the sun. We arrived in San Antonio after 41.75 hours of travel.

Josephine had just commenced her Airbnb business and we were her very first guests. Our place sat in the back yard of her historic mansion, right along the river. Very quiet and peaceful. There was also very easy access to the city’s transport.

River casita King William/Southtown in San Antonio

House in San Antonio, United States. Comfortable former carriage house behind our historic landmark home. Directly on the banks of the SA River in the heart of King William and Southtown: SA’s cultural arts district. Lovely street, everything within walking distance. Premium location…

The 60th General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists was a wonderful experience. To be amongst such a vast and diverse church family was pretty amazing, but to visit all of the Ministry Booths was even more amazing. Even though we attended the last GC, I would never have guessed that now an even greater number of Seventh-day Adventist Ministries exist; outstanding people, with wonderful stories were being told here. The very important topic of Women’s Ordination was discussed during these sessions. I sat through the entire process and was deeply moved to see how a very orderly and very reverent atmosphere was sustained by much prayer. I also considered the Chairman a perfect fit for his role.

We took some time out to enjoy the city and it’s people and found them to be really helpful and very friendly. San Antonio is a very clean city, we barely saw litter. We enjoyed the boat ride through Riverwalk, the visit to The Alamo, the bus tour through the city, and also the very interesting museum. There were numerous occasions when very kind strangers gave us a ride home when we had missed the last evening trolley or bus, and also when we were making our way to the bus stop with our groceries; this is when we really stepped out of our comfort zone. We felt God was really providing for us, protecting us, and we felt perfectly comfortable with our decisions. We were also very impressed with the way the San Antonio Police Department and other security officials took excellent care of our world church family. It was impressive just to stand on any street corner and absorb the activity.

The bus ride back to California was uneventful, except that our shoulders were very sore from logging the bags of free books and gifts we received at the booths; even though we gave a number of them away we still had plenty left over! Of course never to many books! All over again I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery of rivers and lakes, the jagged mountaintops, some barren and some not so barren. Ironically on the way back I read an article entitled “In Awe of You.” The author states “True belief begins with a Creator we can look up to.” I will share two of his paragraphs that reflects my story:

The Wonder of It All
“We live in a time when devotion seems to be too narrow. Our heart jumps at the last technological gadget, while we blindly run past the wonders of the natural world, the amazing workings of our bodies, and the mind-boggling vastness of the universe. Constantly surrounded by miraculous wonders, we resign ourselves to secondhand, lackluster experiences instead.”

“Have you ever read Matthew 6:29 – ‘Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of the lilies of the field’ and thought Jesus was exaggerating a little? Have you ever thought of King Solomon as a wise judge and a clever statesman, while ignoring his description of trees, birds, creeping things,and fish (1 Kings 4:33)?

Reclaiming the Wonder:
“As we strive to reclaim our battered sense of awe, we may find that in God’s creation, big answers are often found in the simplest pleasures of life. God still draws us to Himself through the sunshine and the rain, the hills and seas and plains. He does talk to us through lovely birds, delicately tinted flowers, and lofty trees.”

The next time you travel, just go the slow route, for I can guarantee, you will certainly be blessed by all things that the living God has richly given us to enjoy-1 Timothy 6:17.

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