Any new journey requires a letting go of the old. I’ve been saying goodbye to my co-workers for months now, and it never got easier. The last of the genetics crew was made up of Joe and I on New Years Eve. We sat in the break room and reminisced about all the great people we worked with and all the fun stories we shared. It felt like the last episode of a sitcom.
Many other goodbyes were thwarted by the weather. Church was cancelled on my last Sunday and Collision (the college group I led) was also cancelled. Fortunately my sister-in-law Steph and one of my best friends, Ricky, threw me a goodbye party. It was SO much fun and I had a chance to say goodbye to many dear friends that I would have otherwise not seen before I left. The hardest goodbyes were with my family. I will really miss them.
I left Fort Wayne at about 8 am on Thursday the 16th with high hopes of driving 10 hours and spending the night in Kansas. My car was packed to the brim with everything I wanted along for these 8 months. Within 20 minutes of leaving, it started to snow. Hard. The roads got more and more slippery and traffic slowed to the point of only going about 20 mph. It was terrible driving for about 5 hours. It gradually changed to rain as the temperatures rose, and then turned into hail and then sleet. About an hour before I reached Kansas City the wind picked up and there were such big gusts that I had a hard time keeping my car on the road! My 10 hour trip took about 14 hours, and I was exhausted!
I left Olathe, KS early and had a wonderful, sunny day driving through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and into New Mexico. I loved the beautiful fields of grain and the rodeos along the road in Oklahoma. I passed so many places I wanted to stop, but I resisted them- all but one. I stopped at Dorothy’s house in Liberal, KS. It was a fun break from all the relentless driving. I got into Tucumcari, New Mexico just after sunset.
The third day was spent driving across New Mexico. I only had 6 hours to go, but once I got to Gallup I stopped at a restaurant recommended by my friend Quint. I also got groceries at WalMart because Gallup is the last outpost of civilization. Imagine a blizzard warning in the Midwest- that was the scene at this WalMart. Utter chaos. The parking lot was like black Friday. Inside, everyone had two carts and they were full to overflowing. I spent a little over an hour in WalMart- mostly in line! I drove another 2 ½ hours and pulled into Rough Rock just as the sun was setting. It was beautiful. A wonderful woman from the church, Tina, met me with a key to the house I will be staying in and I unpacked.
Now I am here. It’s quiet – very quiet. I don’t have wi-fi or a TV, and my cell service is limited. I think this will be a big adjustment, but I believe with all of my heart that this is where God has led me to and I will just trust Him until I see the plan unfold!
I attended church this morning and connected with some of the people here. They are kind and generous followers of Christ and I’m excited to become friends with them.
It feels a little “alone” here today. It will take awhile to connect in this community and without wifi I’m limited in my connections with all of you (I’m writing this in a Burger King about 30 minutes from home with wifi- lol!) But I was texting with my friend Danielle last night and I said -“It’s just Casper and I here….” and she reminded me: “Casper, you and GOD”- and that truth makes all the difference!!!
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10