Column

You’re In Luck

When we had to change our summer vacation plans to see family due to COVID-19 and social distancing precautions, I went on the hunt. The anticipated adventures with grandparents and cousins were stolen by the pandemic, but our vacation would not be another casualty. Feeling rather “unlucky” with the happenings of the world, ironically, we found what seemed like the perfect rental in Luck, North Carolina. The computer screen showed us a quaint 122 year-old farmhouse, and my old soul knew it was just what we needed.

Arbatache The sharp, winding road up the mountain to the house was a hint of just how different this getaway would be from our home in the flat Lowcountry. Amidst the rolls of the land, we and our kids noted farm fields galore, tractors busy as bees, and the occasional congregation of cows staring us down. When we finally made it to our destination, we turned down the gravel driveway and were welcomed by the white two-story house nestled beside a rocky stream. With no computers in tow, no cell phone service and limited contact with the rest of society, we gladly welcomed “mentally distancing.” The sound of television news sharing virus updates was replaced with the soothing serenade of the stream. My hands that had spent months drenched in disinfectant were now covered in mud helping the kids find river rocks. As we settled in, the weight of life stresses I was carrying started to drop from my shoulders.

In the kitchen of the house, we found on display a history of the home, along with aged images of the farm and the family who built it in 1898. Over 20 children were born in this household—a number I simply cannot grasp as an exhausted mother of three! Yet it was surreal to stand in the same place that over a century ago another mother stood watching her children run in the same grassy yard and splashing in the same stream. What thoughts went through her mind with the worries of the world then? I was reminded we are not the first, nor the last generation to experience fear. America has seen her share of trials and anguish and yet prevailed.

As we experience a global pandemic, it’s easy to get caught in the mindset that focuses on the gloom or unknown. We often hear, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” but this is not entirely true. We were not meant to carry the full grief and weight of this fallen world. When too much is on us, God does not want us to be superheroes or break by carrying grievances not ours to bear. He wants us to share our heavy struggles with Him. He is the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep, the One who calms the storm, the Giver of peace, the Provider of hope and the One who is in control. Through the good moments and hard times, He wants to be near and be the Source of our strength.

Our days of summer serenity eventually came to an end, and we packed up for the return to reality. The kids did not want to leave and threw toddler fits, insistent on staying and playing in the stream. A part of me could relate to their resistance. But my husband was due back in the warzone as a healthcare worker, the country was experiencing civil unrest, and major decisions needed to be made about our children’s education. Before my mind could travel down that well-worn path of worry, I stopped and just humbly gave it to God.

I left vacation grateful for being able to unplug, reboot, and refocus on my faith. Though a rural farmhouse was not the original plan, the time away from the noise is exactly what we needed to continue to press through this pandemic. I generally don’t use the word “luck” because I believe even the littlest things are better labeled blessings. But in this instance, I will say Luck is a real thing, and I am thankful for the rest and perspective found in this hidden gem in the hills.

By Lili Hiser