Picnic at the Roadside Park

Vacation, when I was a child meant packing up the Crown Victoria and heading “up north.” Along the way we would stop at a little oasis called a Roadside Park. Here travelers could stretch their legs, enjoy a picnic lunch and rest for the next leg of the journey.

On one particular trip my dad had purchased a transistor radio and was enthralled with the ability to listen to his favorite music, baseball games and weather reports out in the middle of nowhere. So there on the picnic table sat a black and chrome box broadcasting the harmonic sounds of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day at the roadside park.

Soon it was time to settle back in the car for the long ride to the finish line. Eventually, we found a motel that passed dad’s requirement for cheap and mom’s requirement for clean. Unloading the trunk my dad suddenly uttered a word I’d never heard before. We had left the precious transistor radio on the table at the roadside park! The harmony vanished as a very heavy cloud descended on our vacation.

Back into the car we went to retrieve the radio. Dad was certain the radio was gone and admonished us for not paying more attention to what we packed. Mom quietly prayed to St. Anthony, whispering “Tony, Tony come around. We’ve got something that can’t be found.” My sister and I sat in the back hoping to dodge the blame.

Finally we arrived at the roadside park … and much to everyone’s surprise and delight, there stood the big black and chrome box … still playing love songs. Harmony had been restored. The vacation had been saved.

What strikes me the most as I recall this story was the heavy cloud that consumed our car on the way back to the roadside park. Thinking it was gone we projected all kinds of outcomes; loss, sadness, anger, and judgment. Something we valued was lost. It had not happened yet but we experienced it as if it had. But I believe that at least one of us still held and image of the radio sitting there on the table undisturbed and that is what we found when we returned.

Such is the power of Imagination. The image we hold in our minds feeds the senses, informs the brain and if held long enough informs the universe and may become manifest in due time. How much better could our time have been had we all focused only on the image of what we were hoping for?

Along the road of life we sometimes grow weary and hungry. Sometimes clouds descend upon us threatening to steal our peace.  But harmony can be restored by returning to the Roadside Park of our minds where harmony and wholeness await our return. And when we pay attention to the images we pack in our consciousness we can bring harmony with us wherever we go.

© Rev. Eileen Patra

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