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Life Continues to Bring Us New Encounters (9/11)

Financial Journey (featured column)
by Karen Kuebler

I am thankful that having planned for our future, we were in a position financially to have choices. Financial freedom is being free from burden and debts that hold you back. When you are financially *free* you have options.

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The recent tragic events that have occurred across our nation have literally changed our world. Our New York skyline will never be the same. Thousands of people were lost and countless lives will never be the same as a result. We have an unknown future ahead in our country, and we don’t know how our day-to-day lives might be impacted.

But, we have witnessed countless good things happening too. People are coming together to help each other like we’ve not witnessed in current times. I recently heard a great story about a local firehouse being inundated with casseroles, baked goodies, steaks and other treats being brought by neighboring citizens to say *thank you* for the work they do that often goes unnoticed.

I have personally experienced changes in my schedule, my interactions with people, and my planning, as I’m sure many of us have. We were scheduled to fly North on September 14th to visit a friend and our daughter’s family. The flight was canceled and we decided to scrap the trip.

One of the benefits of being retired is that there are options which might not always be available to others. After deciding we couldn’t take the trip, I suggested that we drive. What a concept! We haven’t driven on trips over 400 miles in years. It’s not that we love to fly, but we have learned to enjoy the convenience.

Overnight we made a decision to take the trip and use this opportunity to visit Zion and Bryce, two places I have been really wanting to see for years. We haven’t made a spontaneous decision about a trip like this since we’ve been married. It really kind of shocked us both, since we are such meticulous planners about our trips. It was also a bit refreshing to realize we have some spontaneity left!

The drive was peaceful and beautiful. It was just what we needed after days of being glued to CNN and allowing ourselves to get depressed and physically ill from the horrific news. The mountains were glorious and both parks were awesome. It really helped to see evidence of God’s handiwork and regain some perspective on the beauty which does still exist in our world.

I noticed another interesting phenomenon take place. We took a bus tour while we were at Bryce National Park. There were more people than the bus had seats to accommodate, so some sat on the stairwells or in the aisles on their coolers. There was one spare seat next to me and a man sat down who was very rotund. He took part of my seat. Ordinarily, being crowded and uncomfortable like this would have caused me to get very irritated. I found myself thinking, instead, "I’m happy he made it on the bus and what would those people give, who lost their lives, to be scrunched on a tourist bus with lack of space." America’s New War has helped me to understand the value of human life in a new light.

Another thing happened in the next few hours together. When you are with a group of people over an extended period of time, have you noticed how you begin to bond? This happened to me when I was younger and went to camp in the mountains for a week. I felt like I had made new best friends and cried when we said goodbye. Have you ever been to an out-of-town conference for three to five days? During that short period of time you develop a connection with other participants and actually feel sad when your time together ends and everybody leaves to go to their separate destinations across the country.

We had a little over two hours together on the bus. Within minutes we began to connect with each other. Everyone was talking to the people sitting next to them. We didn’t mind being squished and crowded. By the end of this bus tour, we all knew the towns and cities where others lived. We talked about why we were taking our respective trips. We discussed past trips and destinations and shared our experiences of the world. We also talked about the current tragedy facing our country. It was an unbelievable bus trip. Bryce became even more beautiful, if that’s possible, because of this sharing of human experience.

I could tell you all the ways we saved money on this trip. That is usually what we discuss on this site. Somehow, it would take away from the encounter and the full experience. I am thankful that having planned for our future, we were in a position financially to have choices. Financial freedom is being free from burden and debts that hold you back. When you are financially *free* you have options.

I am thankful we didn’t let fear hold us back. By going ahead with this trip, we discovered a new way to appreciate our enchanting country. I learned to view others with a newfound respect and appreciation for the value of human life. It is my prayer that each of us can find something good as a result of the horror that has confronted our nation. In some way, big or small, I hope we can each find some peace and appreciation for being a citizen of a great nation.

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Copyright © 2001 by Karen Kuebler. All rights reserved.

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