Reflection on Virginia: A Stop too Short

Two weeks ago I had my final day living in Virginia.  Fitting for my time there, I was able to hike one of the classic trails.  I hiked with some of my closest Virginia friends through the single digit temperatures to a frozen waterfall.  It was chilly, but also a beautiful hike along a frozen stream.  This trek caused me to reflect on my time living in Roanoke, VA.   I am definitely leaving with some very fond memories.

This was my first time living in the mountains.  I rented part of a house on a hill with a fantastic view of the mountains from the front porch.  I spent hours drinking coffee, reading a book, grilling dinner, or just having a beer on this porch.  The house was from the 20’s with character that was also in need of some serious repair, but there’s no need to dwell on that.

Hiking trails near Roanoke are fabulous.  As noted in a previous post, we have the most photographed point on the Appalachian Trail within an hour’s drive.  The mountains hold a multitude of fantastic trails waiting to be explored.  I hiked to a variety of peaks and waterfalls but there are many more that could be explored.

More importantly, I found community it Roanoke.  This was what I missed most during my time on the road.  When I first walked into the climbing gym I had an hour long conversation with a guy before ever touching a rope.  He turned out to be the leader of an unusual Bible study known as Beer and Bible.  I decided to check it out, and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  He went into great depth on the historical context, original translations, and scholarly interpretations of a few short verses.  Over time, the group of regular attendees became my closest Roanoke friends.

One day I found myself walking along the Greenway with an attendee who had just returned from a year on the RACE, traveling the world serving people through a mission’s organization.  She had seen the world and was also starting life again in Roanoke.  I instantly knew that we would be friends.  We regularly go for a walk or meet up for dinner and just talk about life.  She has put her social work skills to use by helping me figure out some of my emotional life challenges.

The River Rock climbing gym turned into my home away from home.  I love being there.  It has a great atmosphere, great climbing routes, and great people.  Even after my time on the road, climbers are my people.  God put a desire on my heart to start a prayer group at the gym.  It took a long time for me to follow through, but the owner graciously allowed us to use the yoga room, and we started meeting twice a month.  It was super informal, sitting on the floor in a circle praying off sticky notes.  But, I think it helped us keep Jesus and our friends’ salvation at the front of our minds, even while climbing.  I’m excited to hear how the group evolves as a good friend and climbing partner takes over the lead.

At the gym I also met a gentleman whom I have spent a considerable amount of time with.  This is the first person I’ve really dated in years.  It has been wonderful to have someone to share life with on a daily basis.  Despite his crazy goofy rotating scheduling working for the Sheriff’s department we find time to talk/text daily.  It was nice to have a climbing partner for trips to the New River Gorge, someone to grill steaks on the front porch, and someone who would wrap his arms around me and cuddle on the couch.  Things are going to get more challenging as this becomes long distance.

That’s the long way of saying I have enjoyed my time in Roanoke.  There are many more people I could talk about including neighbors, coworkers, mentors, and church friends.  This is just an area filled with good people.

So why am I leaving?  Way back in May I was contacted by a recruiter about a job.  I didn’t think much of it because I hadn’t even been in VA for a year and I was not looking to move.  But the job sounded too interesting not to inquire more.  To make a long story short, I will be starting my new job on Jan 15 and am now in the midst of moving.

What will I be doing?  Check out all these buzz words…  I will be working for a Sustainability Institute on a University campus working on remanufacturing process development.  I will be bridging the gap between the academic world and the corporate world.  I think I’ll be doing very meaningful work and will be able to improve myself as an engineer.  This job should help me to acquire skills that will allow me to do bigger things with life.  I’m not exactly sure what to expect but I trust that God orchestrated this opportunity.

I have three prayers to conclude this blog:  1. I pray a prayer of thanks for the people I’ve met and things I’ve explored during my time in Virginia.  2.  I pray that God will be with me as I make this transition.  3.  I pray that God will use me more in my new home.

The Frozen Cascades

Me in front of the frozen falls.

Some of my closest Roanoke friends at the Cascades

A couple of my closest Roanoke friends

The River

The River

The Frozen River

Check out the striations in the ice.

Chris and I

Chris and I

My desk on my last day.

I had great coworkers. They made me feel special, even as I was leaving.

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2 Responses to Reflection on Virginia: A Stop too Short

  1. Sue Ellingson says:

    Good luck in your next adventure. Your new job sounds very interesting!


  2. Michelle Barringer says:

    Kristi, I love your adventurous heart and spirit! You take hold of God’s hand and you just let Him lead you. I recently listened to Hinds Feet in High Places. You’ve probably read it, but something God has put on my heart for you is this: when you climb high know that God Himself is with you. When He sends you back down into the valley know it’s to help others. You have learned lessons climbing. Share those lessons. May the Lord bless you abundantly.


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