This month, I had the opportunity to take a bus ride to Branson, Missouri with the music students from our local high school. It was an opportunity to learn how puffy my feet could get and how stiff my back could become during an all night, all day ride. I learned how to operate my iPad, dig through a backpack, eat a snack, pick up a dropped cell phone from the bus floor, and more while keeping my elbows within my 18-inch allotted space. But, that’s not all I figured out during the five-day trip.
1. Despite statements people might give about the American teenager and the lack of manners in the next generation, I sat beside two wonderful gentlemen at one dinner show, and witnessed multiple occasions where teenage boys were polite to me on the trip.
|On the Showboat Branson Belle for a lunch cruise.|
2. The gospel is alive and well in the Bible belt. Up north, we’ve become accustomed to people saying happy holidays and pretty much avoiding Jesus in public venues at Christmas. Not in Branson. The gospel was given at every Christmas show, and the music was decidedly Jesus-centered.
|The Haygoods family in concert during the Christmas portion of the show.|
3. The loss of life on the Titanic stands as a testimony to what excessive faith in human ability can do. Despite its unsinkable promise, the boat went down within two hours of hitting an iceberg. Worse, the number of lifeboats in proportion to the number of passengers was underwhelming. A reminder to never trust so much in human power that I am irresponsible in my preparation.
|The Titanic museum in Branson.|
4. Never get so preoccupied that you miss the little moments, even if they belong to someone else. As we walked past this little chapel at Silver Dollar City, I noticed a couple saying their wedding vows in the window. The bride wiped away a tear and then reached for her groom’s hand. A moment of joy borrowed from people I’ll never meet.
|Silver Dollar City, Theme Park|
5. Always notice the beauty around you, even if terror looms in the foreground. No, I did not ride this terrifying monster. Instead, I looked past it to God’s artwork in the sky.
|Silver Dollar City|
I won’t forget my trip. I left Missouri sleep-deprived and over-nourished. But I figured out that there is good everywhere if you look for it.