'If I had it to do all over again, I would!'
Sure, I'd like to believe that I'd do some things differently, but as they say, 'it is what it is'; what happened happened & whether you believe it was meant to happen the way it did, the fact is, it did & there's no going back: it's irreversible! Whether we like it or not, however we choose to look at it, certain things occur to us ( in our lives ) that are just not 'in the plans'. When such events occur, we still have a choice, yes, as to how we address those events & that is what ( usually & largely ) determines the outcome of these occurrences.
'It all began in a bar'! Okay, you know this has GOT to be a good story, all the best ones do, right?! Well, as the case may be, this story has it's bumps, hurdles & jolts, but again, 'all the best ones do'. I met 'her' one evening at a local watering hole, where we barely spoke that first time, but as I got used to seeing her around town, we hit it off & became instant if not fast friends! About a week and a half ( or so ) into our friendship, 'she' asked me if I wanted to go to Oregon with her & after about 5-10 seconds of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict; we were headed for Oregon within about half an hour of the judgement!
Okay, by now, you may be thinking that this was a mistake, the decision came too quickly; I mean, shouldn't we wait at least 30 days before deciding we know someone well enough to go traipsing off across state lines with them?! Well, you might have something there, but I am not a normal person & these were not normal circumstances ( what IS 'normal', anyway? )! There is usually much more to ANY circumstance, not to mention any person, than meets the eye. Such was definitely the case here; though I had my own ideas & thoughts, my Heavenly Father knew EXACTLY what was going on & what needed to happen!
So, after traveling as far as Ritzville, Washington ( about halfway ) the first night, we stopped & got a motel. The next day, after a beautiful drive mostly alongside the Hood River, we pulled into Charleston/Coos Bay, Oregon where we holed up in another motel right on the bay, or very near it. Charleston, Oregon is an old fishing village that still sees a lot of traffic. Between Charleston & Coos Bay is where we spent most of our time, staying mostly in that one motel & then for the final few days, in a yurt at one of the Oregon Coast's many beautiful state parks.
After several failed attempts to get me back home, my friend finally succeeded in placing me on a bus headed for Portland where I boarded the train headed for Spokane, Washington! Some other friends were planning to attend a wedding in Spokane the next day, so I holed up at a homeless shelter until they could pick me up. This particular homeless shelter, Union Gospel Mission, turned out to be a real blessing to me! I never slept great there, but I was blessed with a safe, warm & dry place to live, three 'squares' a day & comfort & fellowship if I so desired. I was privileged as well, to serve by rolling silverware for mealtimes, which came regularly & most evenings were open to the public ( ? )!
Overall, I was blessed to have had this experience ( from beginning to end ) & in our Father's Wise Bestowment, the story's not over! I plan to continue my relationship with 'her' & so look forward to many more opportunities to serve & to live Life to the fullest! For those who choose to take part, whether directly or indirectly in this adventure or to follow their own path, may our Father bless you with the Strength & Fortitude necessary to leap over the many hurdles we face!
Charles Haddon Shank