In April of 2001, I was describing Ben’s Living Facility to a friend who lives in St. Louis and had never seen the place I was talking about. Here is what I had to say, and I STILL feel this way to this very day, May 31st, 2019.
You are correct in picturing the scenery on the way to Conway, Arkansas as beautiful, and it IS comforting and restful to bring them to mind. There are mountains, lush greenery, and yes…the river winding its way all along, and very close to the highway in many instances. There are many lakes and pine trees, and at one particular spot called “Ozark,” you find yourself on top of a mountain where you can see for about 10 miles in all directions. I love that place. I think that is why I enjoy the ride down to Conway so much. If Ben has to be away from home, I am thankful that’s where it is. It takes about the same amount of time to get to Conway as to Kansas City, and Jay drives it all in one day (4 hours each way). That’s why I always try to visit friends along the way. I can’t handle that long ride.
The title of the book you mentioned, “Bad Things Happen To Good People,” reminded me of an incident many years ago as I was coming home from Conway. I had to leave Ben recovering from the flu (they can only stay home for two weeks without losing their Medicare/disability benefits). On the way home, the mountains were so beautiful and I was mournful. I was taking in all this beauty…the cattle grazing on the hillsides, and the absolutely peaceful setting. I kept thinking, “God, how can such sadness be going on when it is so beautiful and serene on that hillside?” The Lord spoke to me quietly within myself and said, “This beauty and peacefulness is the way I meant it to be for mankind…but there will be sadness until I come back again.” I checked the Scriptures in the days following and found that to be true…Romans 5:12 (I like it out of the Living Bible). “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned.” That can be followed up in Romans 8: 18-23 with more explanation that I’ll let you look up for yourself.
So, it was on a trip to Conway that I first understood why “Bad Things Happen To Good People.” I don’t know if that is how that author explained it, but that is what I came to understand. I love the Scripture in Revelation 21:4 that says, “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever.” We sang that as an anthem in choir, and it is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I have it on a tape of our choir singing, and I listen to it as I’m driving to and fro on my longer outings.