By John Goodman, a staff member at Garland County Habitat for Humanity.
We did it! We walked from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean!
This past Saturday, we walked the final three and a half miles to an Atlantic beach with a spring in our step and smiles on our faces. Our daughter, Jonna, and her family came down from Washington, D.C., to join us for the celebration.
On their way south they picked up our son, Rick, in Savannah, to our great surprise. Rick had flown 32 hours from Australia via Dallas and Atlanta to Savannah. Rick, Jonna and our grandkids walked the final miles with us.
Our other two sons, Doug and Ken had walked with us at various points across America. To end it properly, Ruth and Carol, who have served us without much fanfare for the entire journey, joined us for the last mile.
Pastor Trip McKinnon and his family, whom we had met in Waycross, Ga., joined us for a cookout on the Jekyll Island beach. I marvel at how God placed a special pastor named Trip into our lives to minister to us in the final two weeks of our trip. Looking back over our journey, I can clearly see on numerous occasions how “things don’t work out, but God works out things.”
Before we took a step eastward in March 2008, we stood on the Pacific coast with heads bowed as my good friend, retired Army Chaplain Wes Sullivan, prayed for God to walk with us, to bless us and to watch over us. More than three years later, here we stood on the Atlantic coast with bowed heads and teary eyes, as a beautiful benedictory prayer by Wes was offered.
As we walked the final mile, so many thoughts flooded my mind, such as the price we have paid to reach this point and the wonderful people we have met. When we left Capistrano Beach, California, on March 19, 2008, and headed east, I’m not at all sure we had a grasp of the enormity of what we had undertaken.
According to my calculations, we traveled 2,620 miles. We walked in rain, snow, wind, dust, heat and cold. The roads of America took us through mountains and desert, through forests and farmlands, and through small towns and large cities. People all across this great land were kind to us, and maybe some were inspired to chase their own dreams.
To be honest, there were times we considered ending the walk. The journey had some extremely trying times, accidents, illnesses, and other hard challenges both physical and emotional, especially across New Mexico. However, we refused to quit and kept returning.
For the rest of my life I will feel rewarded each time I look back at what we accomplished. We are now members of an exclusive club.