Learning to discover joy in the journey


By Vicki Scott

We just experienced our first Christmas since I was born that my mother and father are celebrating without us. The Bible says that there are no more tears in heaven, but that is not the case here on earth.

I feel so selfish in wanting to see my mother whole with everything the dementia took away. We are still learning about dementia and have realized that some of my mother’s actions did not seem dementia related at the time but now we know they were. Without a doubt, COVID-19 quarantining was the worst thing for anyone with dementia.

My daughter Eva was not able take time off at her new job to go with us on our first hike in honor of my mother on November 2. Eva insisted on going the day after Christmas to be a part of honoring her grandmother and asked the family to join her. Both my parents were avid walkers, and my father loved to jog as well.

The hike on this trail leads up to the historic Smith Mountain Fire Tower in Jackson’s Gap. The trail has a most intimidating hill that works muscles that were no cause for complaint until this event. Two weeks after our hike, my newfound muscles were still in need of a constant coating of Emu oil. I was still in pain on the second trek but thanks to my friend and co-worker Faye Moore, I wore shoes with more support. The last hike was on November 2 and I still walk carefully, so I cringed when Eva suggested another hike. Many years ago, one could drive up to the tower and then walk up to the top of the 90 feet tower to look out over several counties. That road is closed and makes for an intimidating hill to climb. The sign says it is a half mile, but it seems like more.

My supportive running shoes were tied, and two pieces of chewing gum were in my mouth. I was ready. My husband Alan was with me and Eva arrived with her husband Trey and our precious grandchildren, Saylor Rhea and Tyler Kate. Our “grands” continued to bless us, as they were interested in every log and rock along the way up, which caused us to stop more than walk.  Athletically blessed Eva, Trey and Alan might have been frustrated, but I was praising God! My grandchildren reminded me of how I need to perceive life.

Life is too short to hit every mountain head-on without stopping to enjoy the rocks and logs. We can make it to the top easier and without as much muscle pain. God wants us to take joy in the journey to experience the true beauty in happiness. We miss that joy sometimes in our pursuit. We are going to make it. I read the end of the book. A song by one of my favorite music groups, Alabama, says, “We’re in a hurry to get things done, we rush and rush until life’s no fun.”

We made it to the top of the fire tower, and the view was amazing! I cannot even imagine what heaven is like in comparison.

My daughter and I discussed this hike as being the beginning of a tradition in honor of my mother and father. This year, we thought about mom. Next year, I plan to think of my dad as I jog up the hill. Being that I am going to act slowly, I will need to start preparing for that now. I can just hear my dad laughing. Daddy tried, but I’ve never been a jogger. There are no more tears in heaven, but an abundance of laughter I am thinking.

Stay safe, y’all!

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