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Carnett: Savor the moment, savor the journey

June 18, 2012|By Jim Carnett

Is life, as some suggest, a brief episode between two oblivions?

I choose to think not.

My personal belief is that life is a journey into the unknown that can lead to a better destination.

That philosophy, I submit, begets hope — and hope, as one of my mentors once described it, is the promise of long-term gain. Hope, he further elucidated, is an anchor for the soul that most humans can't live without.

I know I can't.

A couple of weeks ago my wife, Hedy, and I spent a weekend at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, deep in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

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We were searching for some quiet "reflection" time, and we found it. The prophet Isaiah once wrote: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord … that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." We walked some lovely paths in the breathtaking 1,200-acre Graham sanctuary.

Do you ever feel the need to get away from the clutter of modern culture? If you do, you're far from alone in that desire.

The same weekend that my bride and I were on the mountaintop in North Carolina communing with God and His stunning nature, a crazed gunman killed three unsuspecting innocents a few hundred miles to our south in Auburn, Ala. Dozens died that same weekend in the ongoing carnage in Syria.

The world seems often to intrude on our quiet moments of hope. Life's unpredictability can overwhelm us.

Hedy and I began our journey of reflection from our daughter's home in eastern North Carolina, driving 375 miles west to the mountains of eastern Tennessee. We visited Pigeon Forge, home to Dolly Parton's Dollywood amusement park, and we stopped in scenic Gatlinburg, smack dab in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's known worldwide as "One of America's Prettiest Towns."

We caravanned with our daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren.

We spent time in the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The heavily wooded Smokys are very different from our jagged western peaks — but equally awe-inspiring.

After several days with the kids, Hedy and I parted company with them and drove east 100 miles to Asheville and the retreat center at the Cove. The three-day experience focused on "Living Fully in the Present."

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