A Flash Back Memory…

Last night while I was browsing You Tube, I came across a video for the Navy Lodge in Yokosuka, Japan.   This caught my eye as this is where we lived for the first couple of weeks after arriving in Japan.  I clicked on the link and smiled to myself.

This lodge is definitely not the classier place to stay when looking at first class hotels around the world.  It is by no means a four star resort to most.   It is a good, functional place to stay when you are being relocated to a foreign country and you don’t have your own home to move right in to.  It is a great place to drop your bags when you have arrived after a long and hard flight across the ocean.

I remember well the relief I felt when we first arrived to the Navy Lodge in June of 1976.  It was a dark and dreary night, no lie! It was a rainy night and the drive from Tokyo to Yokosuka was both invigorating and strange.   The signs were flashing neon, beckoning people to come into the pachinko parlors and restaurants and bars.  Each was fascinating to see, but overwhelming after a long flight from San Francisco.

We had a sponsor from the base meet us, which meant someone who my husband would be working with met us at the  airport and arranged for our lodging and getting us settled in for the first few weeks.  He drove a work van to the airport and talked most of the way from the airport.  Hubby carried on a conversation with him while I stared out the windows wondering how this was ever going to feel like home.

When we were dropped off at the Navy Lodge that night we checked in and were shown our room.   It was down a dark hallway.  On the way to the room we were shown where the bathrooms were and where the showers were.  Women on one side, men on the other.  Sort of like when you had gym class, those types of showers.   The only t.v. was in the lounge at the end of the hall.  Our room had a sink in it, a double bed and a small window, but it was quiet and it was ours.   We sunk into bed and slept like you can only sleep after a trans-Pacific flight.

After a good night’s sleep, a shower, and fresh clothes we met our sponsor for breakfast.  I can’t remember what that was, or where it was, all I know was the new day brought new energy and an excitement.

It did not take long for Japan to feel like home to us.  The signs that were so strange on our arrival soon became friendly to us.  The noise of the traffic and  the crowds of people became the melody of our lives.  We learned to move and flow with it.  Trains were second nature to me as I did not drive while living there.  I became familiar with the bus schedules, the bus stops, the train stations.  There were very few boring days while living there.

I often wonder what it is like now.  After watching the video last night of the Lodge, I smiled to myself.   A kitchenette in each room, that was unheard of!   A bathroom in each room, how wonderful!  A television in the room, amazing!  Plus, right before we left Japan, the Armed Forces Radio network brought us American television!  So, there is no more watching American shows dubbed in Japanese!

Time changes so much.  Things advance and improve and improve some more.   I would surmise, though, the people of Japan are still like they were.  They welcomed us and spoke with us and shared what they had with us.  They are a part of my history, my story, my heart.

Thanks for stopping by today,   I appreciate you.   Cathi (DAF)

 

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Faith…

blonde hair blur daylight environment

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

I have attempted many things in my life that I never would have thought of doing when I was growing up in my small hometown of Oil City, PA.   I married my high school sweetheart which at the time was a pretty normal thing for people to do.  However, he was a career Navy man and the day after our wedding he drove me away from the security of our hometown, and we have been on an adventure since then.

I have seen the Atlantic ocean, the Pacific ocean, Tokyo Bay, Sagami Bay, and the finger lakes around Mt Fuji,  the Gulf of California off San Felipe, the Gulf of Mexico .  I have been to Tokyo several times, been on an aircraft carrier for a day, been mountain climbing in Maine with our five month old daughter, passing her between one another while we climbed to the top (not our most prepared moment).  I have run across the Golden Gate Bridge for fun, fallen off a bike into a rice paddy, eaten some strange foods not knowing what they were.     I have felt adventurous, bold, brave.  I have had fun.  I know in comparison to others, these are all small things to accomplish, but, for this small town girl who never thought she would see anything except the Allegheny River and Oil Creek, these are big things.

I said all of the above because yesterday as I was preparing for some decorating for our upcoming Ladies Retreat, I came across a clip art that showed a woman leaping from one mountain top to another.  This piece of clip art stopped me.  I literally stopped what I was doing and just stared at the image for several moments.  It wasn’t necessarily a striking image, it was just a woman in mid-air between two outcropping peaks of a mountain.   I have jumped across mountain outcroppings like this before without a thought as to what I was doing, and normally I would just smile and continue to look for what I originally was searching for.

However, I stopped.  I studied this image.  My heart joined in the study.  This clip art spoke of faith.  This person photographed an act of faith.  This woman left a piece of ground she was certain of.  She knew what she was standing on.  It was firm land, safe land.  She left that security and leapt not knowing what the ground across from her would be like.  Would that ground be as firm as what she just left?  When she landed again would the ground be firm or would it be slick?  Would there be rocks covered in moss or gravel?  Would she stumble or slip?  These questions flooded my mind as I stared at the clip art.

Then, a question came to my mind, “When was the last time you took a leap of faith?”  The answer to myself was not positive.  I once thought myself adventuresome.  There was a part of me that smiled because I had done so many things that a girl from Oil City never thought of doing, and yet, here I am, now an older woman from South Carolina who leads a pretty ordinary, quiet life.

Have I settled?  Have I told myself it’s time that I shouldn’t expect that rush of excitement and adventure?  All these questions and thoughts flooded my mind and heart in a five-minute time frame, and then kept rattling around my brain since.   In getting older, those leaps of faith come with a bit of wisdom and experience, memories of skinned knees, aching limbs, racing hearts and disappointments jump up in the front of my mind.   I don’t want to miss out though.

While in Japan, hubby and I went to the mountains for a weekend retreat.  Our car’s battery had been blown so the car wouldn’t start on its own, we had to push it to start it.  We drove that beat up old car into the mountains, each time we stopped I would get out and push it as I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift then, and popping a clutch was an unnatural feat for me.   But, it was during that memorable trip that Psalm 121 became a part of my life.   To me, it speaks of faith, leaping faith, and I close sharing it here with you.

Psalm 121 (New Living Translation)

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

I am now challenged to look for places to leap out in faith.  Will I succeed?  I really don’t know, all I know is I am going to look for places to leap, it may only be jumping across a puddle for now, but maybe, just maybe I have a mountain top or two to leap over.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)