Several years ago, B. J. and I were searching for an ancient colonial ancestral cemetery in the swampy South Carolina Low Country. We had discovered some information in a Beaufort, S. C., library that had led us deep into the remote areas in search of the old burial site.
We had driven some miles along a narrow, rundown road when we turned onto an even more delapidated dirt road that threaded its way into a densely wooded area. We were traveling in the direction of the salt-water marsh. Beside the road were giant twisted oaks covered with gray Spanish moss dangling from their mammoth gnarled limbs. The road narrowed as we moved slowly along. The vines and underbrush had matted together over the road forming a canopy-like cover, which caused it to become rather dark as we passed beneath; it was eerie! The place looked ghostly like something out of an
Alfred Hitchcock movie. We became anxious wondering if we had taken the wrong road.
Nevertheless, we continued; slowly navigating the snake-like trail. Just about the time we thought we were at the jumping-off place of the world, we saw some blue sky through the tangle. As we followed the diminutive road out of the Low Country jungle, we suddenly found ourselves on the threshold of astonishing beauty. Immediately before us, as if out of a storybook, was the most beautiful old southern plantation home that either of us had ever seen. At a glance, we could tell that it was remarkably well kept.
The road led across a very old wood bridge and made a full circle in front of the white-columned mansion-on-the-marsh. Almost speechless as we beheld the breathtaking beauty around us, we drove slowly
up the driveway, stopping directly in front of the manor. Seeing no one, I switched off the car and B. J. and I cautiously ascended the massive wood steps to the majestic villa. Stepping to the colossal door, I raised the heavy, old-fashioned brass doorknocker and let it fall with a loud thud. An audible movement inside indicated that someone had heard us. The door opened and there to greet us was a beautiful petite, auburn-haired young woman with a warm smile to match the exciting charm of this astonishing place.
We politely introduced ourselves and stated our business. The attractive and courteous young woman appeared interested and introduced herself. Following a short conversation centering around the stately home (put together with wood pegs), she told us that there was an old cemetery in an oak grove about fifty yards behind her house and that people came there often to search for their ancestor’s graves. She told us that we were welcome to go to it and stay as long as it took to do our work.
After a thorough search of the gravesite, it yielded no information concerning our ancestors. In this respect, the trip proved fruitless. Such is often the case in genealogical pursuits. The right cemetery would be discovered on a later trip in a nearby section of the Low Country.
We thanked the gracious woman for allowing us to intrude for a little while on her adorable estate, and then we were on our way with her blessing for success in our quest.
As we crossed the little wood bridge on our return to the almost hidden road, I turned and commented to B. J., “Don’t you wish we could stay here?”
“I sure do,” was her answer as the gorgeous mansion disappeared from sight through the tangled vines behind us.
We had not yet discovered the graves but we would forever remember this place of unmatched elegance.
Life for the Christian is a lot like this. We travel the dark, narrow, winding, and often frightening trails of life that seem to lead nowhere. Not knowing what awaits us around the next turn, we feel trapped in tangled circumstances. We press on; however, trusting in Him who said that he will be with us even through the “valley of the shadow of death.” In spite of life’s jungles, tangles and narrow, scary paths, we believe that “In due season, we shall reap if we faint not.”
No matter how gloomy and lonesome the way may be, the faithful people of God are assured that in time, we will emerge from the shadows to observe a place of indescribable beauty with a mansion especially prepared for us, and from which we will never have to leave. The trip will be worth it, my friends, no matter how scary it may get at times.