You Didn’t Come This Far to Only Come This Far

Dear Reader:

Haven’t we all experienced those middle of the projects blues when we can’t decide whether to go forward or turn back?

I remember the first time going to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope thinking that this chapel had magically disappeared or we were completely lost! We were going to have to turn around and go back to Honey’s home on Pinnacle Mountain. (I should have known if Honey is driving…you will get to any location anywhere…she is amazing!)  There is no “straight” path to the little ‘chapel in the woods’ from any direction.

The reason so many people, including me, visually miss it the first time…is that the road takes a right curve where it is located. Drivers are concentrating on this approaching curve around the right of the road and the little chapel is up on the left (at the same time) probably laughing at all of us. It is in plain sight…yet simultaneously, unless you turn your head to the left going around the curve to the right…it is easily missed.

By the time you turn around and head back…there it is in plain sight…like it just magically appeared out of nowhere! I do believe the little chapel keeps a twinkle in its eye welcoming all us “lost souls.”

It will be almost eight years to the day when I first laid eyes on the Chapel of Hope. It was a hot July day (2010) and the little chapel, itself, was really hot (no electricity) too. Despite this…I felt a presence the moment I stepped in…an affinity was created before I ever saw the first picture of Beverly Barutio or read her story.

I felt a sense of homecoming. It is a place where the weary of mind, heart, soul, and body feel relief from physical problems… medications,treatments, and over-thinking situations. It is a special spot where one can solely focus on spiritual healing.

Today I think of this little chapel as a center of wonder in my life…a catalyst for change. It has connected me to family members of Bill and Beverly Barutio. It has connected friends and strangers to it through the blog…even if someone has never seen it. It has connected me to all of you readers…What an amazing mystical little chapel!

I love the connection now to all the painters of this chapel….Carolyn Serrano, New Zealand painter Gerda Smit, Joan Turner, and even “Chicken Man.”

Each time I return to the chapel I do question if I am doing enough with the time I have been given…“I don’t want to stop short of my life’s goals…to have come this far to only come this far.”

This is the question I will be leaving behind, along with a list of prayers for special people in my life and mementos from friends to leave for other friends. The chapel is on sacred ground, a “thin place,” and everyone feels open enough to leave behind their written thoughts, concerns, and hopes within its special walls.

So until tomorrow…Let us strive to go as far as our wandering takes us…never doubting the destination but fully living the journey.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

A “pretty” hibiscus taken from a neighbor’s yard before I left!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to You Didn’t Come This Far to Only Come This Far

  1. Sis Kinney says:

    Good Tuesday morning, Becky!
    Today you’ll get to see the beautiful little Chapel of Hope once again and I know you (and others!) are thrilled to be able to be there! I remember well how “hidden” it is on the curve! We had to turn around and go back to it – and it turns out our daughter’s best friend from middle/high school onward actually worked at that little country store/restaurant just down the road (or is it up the road?), yet she had never seen the little Chapel in the woods! I know you will once again be entranced by the pull of this powerful little building of “hope” there in the beautiful NC Blue Ridge Mountains! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!
    Much love to all you sojourners on this beautiful summer morn!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      That curve is a challenge…but we were ready for it this time and the upkeep of this place made us so happy…it is being carefully tended for… to preserve the spirit of love contained within as important refuge to so many.


  2. Jo Dufford says:

    I know this is always a special time for you, and when you are with those ladies, it is even better. Tell Honey I think of her so often. Even though, I know God is with me everywhere, somehow I feel His presence so intensely in the mountains. I was just in mountains in Tenn., and I don’t know if it is the height, the vastness, the beauty, the stillness, the breeze or what, but that feeling of joy that only He can give vibrates every nerve in my body.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I sure will let Honey know Jo….she adores you for how tenderly you cared for her as a young student. Your legacy of kindness continues to live in the memories of those who knew and continue to experience your love and wit.


  3. bcparkison says:

    I’m glad someone else was driving. I would hate for you to encounter someone coming around the curve while you are looking the other way.
    Love the flower. I once had one that came back every year but the worms laced the leaves so bad I had to get rid of it.


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