Of Landmarks and Air Mail

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Of Landmarks and Air Mail

I am a landmark driven person. If someone gives me directions, I’ll do a lot better if they include a few landmarks. When we travel I watch the signs, calling out the names of side streets and roads. We notice buildings that have seen better days, pretty homes, businesses, and churches. We really like to read church signs and we love the architecture of churches. Maybe it is a sudden valley, a lone tree, a peaceful creek running beside the car. We watch and comment on the things we see along the way.


One thing I love about the fact that we have two places between which we split our time is the familiarity which develops in the drive. All along the way from Hendersonville to Banner Elk there are landmarks.


There are the mundane places, for instance where we merge onto a different interstate. There’s the McDonalds where we sometimes stop for coffee or sweet tea. We pass Ridgecrest and The Cove where I have wonderful memories of fellowship with other writers and speakers. Some places are spectacularly beautiful, like our favorite valley—the place we day dream of living someday.


And then, there is “Air Mail”.


At the base of the mountain, immediately before the climb up what is called the “Winding Staircase,” is a mailbox. The first time we drove this road my husband told me to watch for it and then told me this story. Years ago, when he and his mother were driving up to Boone she spotted the mailbox and it tickled her funny bone. He hoped it was still there. It was a landmark of a happy time with his mother.


When we spotted it we almost felt like Mama was there with us. Sure enough, high on a pole above the real mail box was a second one with a little airplane perched on top. It was labeled “Air Mail.”


I laughed out loud. It tickled my funny bone too. So, the highlight of the trip whether we are coming up the mountain or going down is spotting the Air Mail Box. It reminds Bruce of a special experience with his mother. It gives me another connection with the mother-in-law I never got to meet. And, we either know we’ve made it down the winding staircase safely, or we need to pay attention to the curves because we are heading up!


Silly?  Maybe. But I was thinking about this the other day. I was in a conversation online about the value—or lack thereof—of sorrowing for the “good old days.” In the conversation we agreed that there is little value in that. My grandma used to say, “The good old days weren’t so good.” And it is true.

 Good Old Days

But, wait a minute. Let’s be careful not to react too quickly and bounce too far to the other side. There is value in looking at the past. There is value in noticing the landmarks, those points along the way that meant something to us! What’s wrong with keeping the good while letting the bad go? Sometimes we can even learn from the past!


Maybe the landmark is a literal place, like the site of the sod house where my daddy was born. Visiting that site with him was one of the best days of my life. I could imagine my grandparents there, struggling to make a go of it. I realized the sacrifices they made for their children, sacrifices that ended up impacting my life. That landmark reminds me of God’s goodness and provision even in hard times.


Maybe the landmark is something as simple as the first time you read the Bible and realized that the verse you read was God’s message to you for the particular need you faced that very day. That one reminds me of the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Maybe the landmark was the day you became a mother and suddenly you realized just how much your mother had really done for you. Maybe you even regretted some things you said to your mom.


Maybe your landmark was a day when you realized something you thought you couldn’t live without was never going to be a part of your life, but it was ok because God planned it. Wow! Landmarks are faith-building?


Maybe your landmark involves sitting beside an elder, listening to them tell you about the experiences that changed them forever. I don’t know about you, but I learn from stories.

 repeating his stories

Maybe your landmark involves old hymns sung the old fashioned way. There is so much good doctrine in those songs.


Or, maybe it is a fading mailbox by the side of the road that reminds you of an average day you spent with someone who is now in heaven.


We all have many landmarks. They are as varied as our personalities, our learning styles, and the gifts God has given us. Don’t forget to notice them! Cherish them. Learn from them.


Don’t make idols out of them, but respect them for what they are. The moments God put in our lives to bring us to the place He wants us to be.