I have family in North Dakota which seems pretty random but it’s an interesting story of when my great grandparents immigrated to North America and were split up from my grandma and great aunt who ended up in Canada while they ended up in the US. Anyway, my second cousin was getting married and it happened to be during my road trip and so I was thankful to be able to go celebrate with them and see family I hadn’t seen in a while and also to meet other family. It’s fun to finally be able to put faces to names that I have heard for years. I had visited them in North Dakota years ago when I was moving to Quebec and it was great to be able to visit again.
Being at a family wedding like this is bittersweet though because it makes me miss my mom a lot. This was a wedding my mom and I should have traveled to together. We would have had some crazy travel antics, explored a bunch, taken pictures with oversized statues of things (like we did last time) and would have laughed a lot. I’m glad I could go as her representative and yet it would have been so much sweeter to have her join the celebrations.
At the rehearsal dinner, my cousin (well, technically first cousin once removed, but I won’t bore you with the details of family trees) was telling me that years ago my aunt, my mom and them were at the very same park hanging out. There was an amusement park next door and he told of a story when they went. That place holds so many memories that I don’t even know about and yet here I was, in a place where my mom once connected with and enjoyed family. My mom has gone before me in so many ways and I’m thankful I can follow in her footsteps and her legacy of love, family and adventure, without always being aware of it.
After the wedding weekend, I headed down through South Dakota. I saw a picture on Instagram that dear friends from Quebec had posted that made it seem like they were in South Dakota (which was unexpected as I had just visited them in Quebec). They were in fact in South Dakota and I was able to meet them for lunch and spend some more time with them. I might sound like a broken record, but I am so grateful for the relationships we have in life. I love how God weaves people in and out of our lives. Some are just for a season, some are lifelong and some come in and out in different and unexpected ways and it is wonderful to be able to enjoy. I have a deep love and appreciation for Andrew & Lisa and their three boys and was so grateful to be able to spend some more time with them.
And then I went to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Mount Rushmore is one of those iconic places that you hear a lot about. First off, the nature around there is absolutely stunning. It is in the Black Mountains which I thoroughly enjoyed driving through and stopping in various places. I went to the monument, read some of the information, hiked down below and closer to the sculptures and then back up to the viewing platform. I stood there and was about to leave but then figured I should probably sit there for a longer period of time to actually take it in.
It’s an amazing feat that these faces have been carved into this mountainside. But how long do you have to stand and look at something to truly appreciate it? I can look at parts of creation for extended periods of time but this felt different. It’s man-made and yet it is pretty cool and interesting. Anyway, I sat there for a while and then when I decided that a sufficient amount of intake time had occurred, I kept going on my journey back to Nebraska.
I wanted to appreciate what I had traveled there to see but there was also more to see. But it left me with many thoughts about how long we should sit with things for us to truly have been present to them. I don’t think there’s a straight answer to that but it’s something I want to be aware of. I don’t merely want to stop somewhere, look at it and take a picture and keep going. I want to be able to be fully present to that moment and everything it has for me. I want to pay attention to how I’m feeling. I want to allow myself to feel awe and wonder at the different places I go. As the end of the roadtrip portion of my trip was drawing near, it was also easier to just keep moving and to not stop and notice. I want to have grace with myself in each moment and I also want to be fully present.