As many of you know, I recently made my permanent change of station from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Ministry Center in Norfolk, Va., to Naval Base Ventura County as the newest staff chaplain.
When the time arrived for my transfer, I was debating whether to sell my vehicle — also known as The Gas Guzzler — and fly out to California or drive coast to coast. I decided that since I have traveled to 37 countries in my lifetime, yet have seen very little of my own, it was time to see some of the USA.
I had a couple of different routes in mind. I could blaze across Interstate 40, which I have taken before, and make it here sooner, or I could take Interstate 80 and see some states I have never seen. I decided to take the 80.
Everyone who has ever taken a long road trip knows there are some essentials to making this kind of journey: a double shot of espresso to start each day, a GPS with an old-school map on standby, a spare tire at the very least and, without fail, a good radio station to stay alert and entertained.
So the road trip began, and as I drove through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, I changed radio stations randomly just to see what everyone was playing. The one song that played repeatedly was Jason Aldean’s “Fly Over States.” Normally, it would have bored me to tears to hear the same song across eight states, but it turned out to be the perfect companion for my drive.
As I listened, I felt very appreciative to be an American, to be serving my country in the military, to belong to this vast, beautiful land that has much to offer. I felt proud to know that our country praises hard work, roots for the underdog and stands for freedom.
I witnessed through my windshield the skill of the farmers, ranchers and the average American at work. Now, I too understand why “God made those fly over states.” There’s a Bible passage that says, “The hills rejoice on every side, the pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.” (Psalm 65:12-13)
I think nature has a way of reminding us that God is good and adds His blessing to our land. Sometimes we just have to slow down and take it all in to recognize His handiwork.
So I encourage you, next time you are PCSing cross-country and the opportunity arises, don’t fly. “Take a ride.”
May God’s presence be the strength and sure foundation of your life!