November 5, 2010

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Blessings from a special trip to the Grand Canyon

Shirley Vogler MeisterIn a column that I wrote in January, I shared how faith and family are strengthened through special experiences.

An example was a trip last year to Gettysburg, S.D., with my sister, Beverley, and her husband, John, to celebrate our brother Stan’s 70th birthday last October.

I also wrote about how last November my brother-in-law became deathly ill and was hospitalized in St. Louis. John’s recovery began when his parish priest administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. My sister, my husband and I witnessed this sacrament. John even responded to prayers.

This past spring, Bev and John celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in our Belleville, Ill., hometown area. A guest congratulated him on his recovery. John responded that he would not have wanted to die before he and Bev could see the Grand Canyon.

My husband, Paul, and I immediately offered to take them there as soon as John was able to travel. So this autumn we headed west as promised.

During the more than 4,000 miles traveled and 18 days on the road, we experienced countless wonders as we meandered our way west, counting on the grace of God to guide us. Most everything worked out well.

Besides seeing the Grand Canyon, near Williams, Ariz., we were surprised along the way to see two smaller canyons, Palo Duro Canyon in Texas and the Black Canyon at Gunnison, Colo. All are beautiful, but the granddaddy of canyons surpassed our expectations.

Since my husband, Paul, is a railroad engineer for the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, we naturally rode the train to the Grand Canyon for our experience on the South Rim. At times, some of the experiences brought tears of joy.

Our route included Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Kansas.

Enroute, we enjoyed countess attractions, especially while on Route 66. They included a huge, weathered man-made blue whale on water, the eclectic J.M. Davis Museum, and the longtime, popular MidPoint Café, famous for its delicious ugly crust pies.

In Sante Fe, N.M., we marveled at the Catholic churches and museums, especially the Loretto Chapel. In Taos, I found a Sacred Heart of Jesus medal in the sand near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

Touring the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Ariz., was a highlight, too. One street is lined with churches of most faith traditions. Their foundations were made from leftover concrete after the Powell Reservoir was built.

Recently, my sister mentioned something else wonderful about the trip—our laughter.

Yes, we did a lot of laughing. In my next column, I will share more experiences as well as the healing power of laughter.

Now, I applaud my husband. He drove our entire trip. Thank you, Paul!

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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