First, you should know that I still grin and glow every time I think about finding a particular geocache and that was 4 days ago. It was the first thing I talked about on Monday when I got in the car. The live lectionary study group had to hear the story before we talked about anything else. That was Tuesday. You are getting this now because I have to tell the story to someone today. My college roommate is supposed to call me tomorrow, so she’ll hear it then. You might consider praying for those I see after that.
There were four of us that got off the boat, well really a lot more than four got off, but four were in our group. We each had something specific we wanted to do and it seemed like we could accomplish all four goals while going together. I wanted to be an international geocacher. All I needed was to find one cache. More would be good, but one is all I really needed.
I still can’t figure out exactly what happened, it was as if I’d never used a GPS before, and we went the wrong way. And we kept going the wrong way. We went past a cache going the wrong way and kept going until we reached the national park with the drunk guys that couldn’t speak English located across from the military installment that had guys in camo holding guns – big guns. There was no sidewalk left, on either side of the road, and someone without a GPS to guide her said, “Uh, I’m saying it’s time to go back the other way.” So we did. And we walked past that same first cache on the other side of it as we went the right way but still couldn’t seem to find the right place for that cache.
As we walked away from that cache, I came to the realization that I was not going to be an international geocacher. I was really disappointed. I was frustrated. Pretty much disheartened. I was discouraged, dismayed, you get the idea. But I was trying to be “big” about it because, after all, I am a grown-up. As we walked, we saw more tourists, more shops, and one of our group found and bargained for the religious kitsch that was her goal (she called it that not me). Somewhere along the way there was enough sand to qualify for the collection that was someone else’s goal. As I thought about making a “plan B” to redeem my goal, while at the same time thinking, “the search is over, just give up and get on the boat,” I saw it. I saw the A frame sidewalk sign that said “No Name Internet.” And I knew there was a cache nearby.
Sure enough two doors down was the bar with the name I was trying to find in order to locate the cache. There were four of us looking high and low in bushes, planters, around door frames and windows, not really being too careful about being noticed because the excitement of a possible find took over. Then this guy said, as he walked past, “More west.”
Of course! So we went more west thinking that we were going inside. But anyone who has spent time in such a location knows that a doorway may very well be an entry to more than a room. This entry led to a short hallway that opened into an area that was filled with tables that have umbrellas instead of a ceiling over them. The place that was most west in this area were the steps that led to the water where we promptly put our feet. The sidewalk guy saw us and said, “you took the more west kinda literally didn’t ya?” Knowing we were in the right vicinity, we looked around the area for anything that might resemble a geocache.
We were kinda tired, very thirsty, and starting to get hungry. I said I’d buy drinks then we could go back to the boat for food and rest. As we waited to be noticed, Will Smama got up to see if she could speed up the process. While wandering, she noticed a mailbox and said, “Could it be the mailbox? Do they have mailboxes in Mexico?”
After our drinks were served, I went over to the mailbox, looked at it, and reached up to open it. When I did, I yelled (like game winning score kind of yell), “Yes!” I carried the bag over and dumped it on the table. We sorted through the swag and I took a geocoin and left a travel bug.
Leaving the travel bug was kinda interesting because I had intended to buy a keychain on the boat to attach to the brand new travel bug – but I forgot. So I searched through my backpack finally deciding to use the church camp lanyard in Seattle Seahawk colors. The swag was returned to the bag, the log was appropriately signed, and the bag was once again hidden.
A few moments later, another geocacher had the swag bag out. Just as he opened it, I called out, “Hey, you gonna take my travel bug?” He came over and introduced himself. He’s from Pittsburgh and he did take my travel bug.
As we were walking back toward the boat, I recognized that Christ had been walking with me. At any point, my companions could have bailed, but they didn’t. Even when I was trying to reconcile myself to extreme disappointment, they were still looking. I opened the mailbox but Will Smama, DogBlogger, and god_guurrlll opened their hearts, and I knew God had been walking with us just like Jesus walked with the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24).
The find made me ecstatic.
The “walking with” made me blessed.