Written by: Ruth Waite
On Monday, July 24 we arrived in Newton, MS for our last night in Mississippi before heading into Alabama the next day. When I arrived around 2:00 pm, after a 72 mile ride, I saw on our whiteboard that at 3:30 we were going to have a trip to get frozen yogurt. It was slightly later than 3:30, but not much, and we rounded up people who wanted to go to Mr. Mike’s Frozen Yogurt shop.
As we were about ready to go, Lee, our host from the First Baptist Church in Newton, offered to drive us in the church bus. The church bus was not a fifteen passenger van nor a converted school bus—it was more like a tour bus. We were as delighted as kindergartners to get a chance to ride in a bus with stairs and a railing to get in the door, as well as plenty of room and comfortable seats for everyone who wanted to go. I have never seen a group of fifteen to eighteen adults so delighted by the prospect of riding in a bus.
Mr. Mike’s had been warned that we were coming, but it didn’t matter too much because everything was self-serve. There were eight flavors of frozen yogurt and all kinds of toppings. And we were overjoyed at the prospect! I have never seen a large group of adults so delighted by such simple things.
One of our themes for this summer is simple living. We work hard nearly every day. We now say things like, “We’re only going 72 miles.” Even though we get tired every day, 72 miles sounds perfectly doable—especially if it’s flat. At our rest stops we rejoice at how delicious ice water is, and how wonderful fresh watermelon tastes. But we’re largely limited to the snacks provided for us—things that are non-perishable or that will fit in small coolers. In the evening we eat what the dinner team or a local church prepares. On laundry days we put our dirty clothes in piles and two or three people head off to the laundromat with all our clothes. When they return, we rifle through the clean clothes to find our own. We’re getting by with very small wardrobes. Each day we head out on the route planned for us, to a city and destination already selected for us. Much like little children, we don’t have a lot of control over our day to day lives. So, much like little children, we can be delighted by very simple surprises that come our way.
It was wonderful to share such joy over such simple things as a bus ride and frozen yogurt. It’s a reminder of the delight that we once had as children, and we learned that we can still experience joy over very simple things.