Weary traveler, restless soul

By Dave Henning / February 20, 2023

The Hermann (MO) Amtrak Station, location of the Visitor Information Center with Charleen.

“Weary traveler, restless soul / You were never meant to walk this world alone. /It’ll all be worth it, so just hold on. / Weary traveler, you won’t be weary long.”- Jordan St. Cyr

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”- Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Common belief holds that scouts from the German Society of Philadelphia chose Hermann’s area due to its resemblance to the Rhine Valley.  As a result, in 1837 schoolteacher George Bayer, the society’s agent, purchased 11,000 acres of extremely steep, mostly rugged terrain along the Missouri River.  The first seventeen settlers arrived on the last steamboat of the season.

Today, wineries serve as the main tourist attraction.  However, much of the downtown is a historic district.  Brick homes from the 1800s hug the sidewalk in traditional German style.  And the Wurst Haus, located kitty corner from the Amtrak station, makes sixty-four kinds of bratwurst.

My wife and I recently visited Hermann for three days.  We especially enjoyed touring the historic sites and visiting the two main churches in town.  But the Lord saved our most endearing memory for the last day.  Because a stalled freight train delayed Amtrak for over four hours, we camped out at the station.  Enter Charleen, a Stage 4 sarcoma survivor, who worked at the information center.  In gratitude, Charleen shows kindness to someone every day.  Her homespun charm and infectious laughter kept everything upbeat and energized this weary traveler.  Above all, Charleen remained after her shift until we boarded.

Writing in her latest book, Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, Lysa TerKeurst underscores the importance of defining what is and is not acceptable with human relationships.  Lysa asserts:

“If people are constantly annoying us, frustrating us, exhausting us, or running all over us, chances are we either don’t have the right kind of people in our life or we don’t have the right kind of boundaries.  Or maybe it’s both.  Good boundaries bring relief to the grief of letting other people’s opinions, issues, desires, and agendas run our life.”

So, Lysa observes, you might think to yourself that boundaries don’t bring relief.  Rather, boundaries only anger or disappoint others.  Hence, you try to keep the peace.  And that might appear to work for a while.  However, over time your heart fills with simmering resentments.  Consequently, you lose the real you.  Furthermore, often everyday scenarios make you question your identity based on another person’s actions or reactions.  Instead of taking it personally, see the situation as a moment to pause and consider.  That helps you humbly determine what to do and how to process it.

Most significantly, Lysa counsels, stay whole through keeping what you know, feel, and do in alignment with God’s truth about who you are.  For example, if you see yourself as responsible, avoid saying yes to too many things.  Rather, strengthen your resolve to say no to others.  Boundaries remind us of the right definition of healthy.

In conclusion, Lysa offers this encouragement to the weary traveler:

“When any part of me gets out of alignment with God’s truth, I betray the best of who I am.  We’ve got to know who we are, so we don’t lose ourselves in the fractured realities of others.  We can’t live our lives to satisfy the unrealistic demands of other people.

So, again, who are you? . . .  Keep going with this, using the qualities that God Himself would speak over you.  Not based on other people’s opinions, but on who He created you to be.”

By the way, I never did find out how fast Charleen first drove her red Camaro convertible!

About the author

Dave Henning

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