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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Walking Tall
In April 25 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

DISCLAIMER-The following column may not make sense to some people, but for those it does make sense to, it...uh, should make really good sense.

I am expected to write about a certain subject this week.

As a matter of fact, countless numbers of people have said, "I can't wait to see what you write about this."

However, the subject I am writing about is really not something to discuss in public.

It’s not “forbidden,” or anything, it’s just, well, let me try to explain…

A few years ago, in my hardcore junk store days, I was among a group of people who used to gather at Skaggs' every Saturday morning.

I used to hear Judy Mann talking about some kind of "A-may-us" thing, and she was always excited when she was either "going up to the mountain," or had just "come down from the mountain."

I remember her saying something about a "walk," and I assume a bunch of people got together and walked around up on a mountain-kinda like one of those American Cancer Society Relay for Life things.

It wasn't long before someone else in Skaggs' "Chain Gang" went "up on the mountain"-then they, too, talked about what kind of life-changing experience it was.

I was about half-perplexed, half-aggravated over the fact that no one who had participated in this "A-may-us" could describe it or explain it.

But I was entirely jealous these people seemed to know, or had experienced, pure joy.

And secretly…I wanted some of that.

FAST FORWARD...

(He’s going to start talking about church again, isn’t he?)

Well, yeah, I am, because it’s the best thing in my life…FINALLY.

I hadn’t heard about “A-may-us” for a while, and when my family found a church home at Russell Springs United Methodist, I was surprised to here someone mention the “mountain.”

I had come to think this “A-may-us” was maybe just for certain types of religions, but learned it was non-denominational.

OK, good, I liked that concept, but still didn’t know much about it.

Before I knew it, I was being asked to “consider” attending an EMMAUS (I’d finally learned the correct term and spelling) walk.

My dear, dear friend, Greg Allen, said he (along with my son, Evan), would like to “sponsor” my walk.

He also said Emmaus was one of the most meaningful things in his life-right up there with salvation, his wedding day, and the birth of his children.

That definitely got my curiosity.

How could this “whatever it is” be so special?

Time literally flew by until I found myself days away from attending.

And as I had heard people say, the days leading up to Emmaus can be challenging.

Why?

Because somebody (look down…lower…lower…warmer…getting warmer…HOT…yep, him) doesn’t want you to go.

There was family strife, financial strife, physical strife, strife strife-you name it, it seemed to happen.

I thought about this as Mr. Allen drove me to the “mountain.”

We talked, and he answered my many questions and addressed my concerns in his usual, calm and compassionate manner.

I was thinking…one night, two nights, three nights away from the wife and kids. The knots in my stomach drew tighter.

As we drifted through the countryside and began the twisting journey up the mountain, I literally felt the air getting thinner.

That’s what happens when you go to higher elevations, right?

Was I losing my mind?

Or was I about to gain it?

Hmmm….

At the risk of embarrassing myself (a common thing), I’ll just tell you…I’ve never attended a church camp, band camp, summer camp, or anything like that.

This whole concept was new to me.

I can tell you that sleeping in a small room with around 30 other men is interesting in the fact you will hear odd noises, and smell strange smells-some of which come from one’s self-over the course of three days and nights.

However, we weren’t there to sleep, and we didn’t much.

Yeah, yeah, so what happens at Emmaus?

OK, let’s say I saw you on the sidewalk and you said, “Hey, have you seen that new movie that’s up at the theater?”

I may say, “Yeah.”

Now, would you want me to tell you every single detail about the movie, such as plot, style of cinematography, best lines, music score, and how the movie ends?

OR…would you rather me say, “Oh, it was great! You really need to see it! I won’t tell you what happens because I don’t want to ruin if for you!”

See what I mean?

I know that’s not going to satisfy some people’s curiosity.

I can tell you it’s a religious thing (DUH!), and an important part of Emmaus is fellowship (fancy term for getting to know other people, spending time with them, and sharing a common interest).

If you go with an open mind (and more importantly an “open heart” as my lovely-and much more brilliant than I ever realized wife, Renee’ said), you will grow.

You will learn.

You will love.

Whoa, whoa, back up, what was that?

Yes, L-O-V-E.

That’s a pretty big clue for you right there.

As you may have heard, you will come off that mountain a changed person.

For myself, it was as if I’ve had a veil lifted from in front of my face.

I see and feel things differently, and sorta have a “heightened awareness.”

I now know there are plenty of good, caring people in this world. (And that’s’ something I was really doubting as of late.)

I have learned the value and appreciation of an active and supportive church.

(RSUMC-all I can say, in the words of B.J., “WOW!”)

If you are looking for “tools” to fix things in your life, I feel certain you would find them at Emmaus.

After this “ultimate experience,” I’ve reconnected with people from my past, and made friends I will enjoy fellowshipping with in the future.

No, Emmaus is not a cult (you can trust me, I’d tell you if it was), and there’s nothing secretive about it.

I am (wait, let me correct that…I was) a critical, skeptical, and analytical person-always having to know “what,” “when,” “why,” “where,” and “how.”

To truly enjoy Emmaus and all the bountiful blessings involved, you do need to extend some faith, trust, and more importantly, as the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God!”

There are “walks” for men, women, and young adults, so no one should feel left out if they’re interested in attending. (Which I highly recommend.)

As far as the “walk,” I can’t advise you to go out and get a new pair of shoes.

Sometimes a walk can be a walk, sometimes a walk can be a “journey,” sometimes a walk can be a “process,” sometimes it can be a combination of all of these things.

When it comes right down to it, I needed a reality check.

I got one, thank God.

And you know what?

“IT GETS BETTER!”

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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