Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Road Stretched Out

It’s officially spring here in Southeast Michigan and with spring comes the itch in me for a good road trip. There is something about packing into the car with good road food, coffee, books and an atlas and heading out with the road stretched out before us.

I’ve always enjoyed a good road trip. One of the first that I remember was driving from Michigan to Vermont to visit my aunt and uncle. My grandparents and great aunt drove my brother, cousin, and I out there the summer we were 13 years old. I remember so many great details about the drive there and back that the time there, while fun, was not as notable. It was as if the journey itself was the joy and life of the trip. It is that sense of adventure and unknown that makes an ordinary destination a celebration of the gift of this life and freedom we have to roam.

We take many road trips every month to visit family about 90-150 miles away and while that keeps me somewhat satisfied, it’s the big road trips that refresh my soul…remind me that new, simple things are what keep me going – keep the excitement in the journey.

The road trip is a metaphor for life for me right now…this journey I’m on doesn’t have a clear cut or flashy destination. But I’m learning here in the quiet rhythm of everyday that it’s the sights, sounds, and experiences are what matters – as long as I keep looking for them – longing for them and looking out the window, but also inside to those faces I love so much. Its Zach telling me his new Easter clothes are “fantastic”…Abby making up cheerleader type moves as she keeps begging me for yogurt…Kayla making up silly songs and dancing around the living room while Zach and Abby follow along. It’s little hands around my neck, hugs so tight I can scarcely breathe, it’s Zach saying “I love you, my highness”, Kayla asking for me to put my arm around her. When I really take in these sights and sounds, I’m overcome with the gravity of it all – this journey – never passing this way again – each moment coming faster and faster like I’m watching the sunset and trying to hold each ray in my hand.

This thankfulness and humbleness does not flow from me as often or as intensely as it should. But I truly am thankful for this road stretched out before me – wherever it may lead.

As far as that big road trip…well, it has not been planned yet. But I’ll take the two small ones over the next two weeks and savor the journey to places and people that I love. And that is more than enough for this roaming soul.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our Land

This post is dedicated to my brother Rich and his family who after 3 years in Africa are returning to the US for the next several months.

I’ve been reading a lot about heaven lately because I realize that I don’t know much about our eternal home. One book I’ve enjoyed reading with a friend is “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. It has been a very surprising book to me in its discussion of the New Earth. It is definitely a worthy read, but intense at over 400 pages. However, that is NOT the focus of this post. What is the focus is this idea that during creation the earth was given to us to rule. Of course humankind has marred this land (and universe) with our own sin – causing chaos and degradation in everything we see. But what is so striking to me is the beauty that we can still observe around us.

Romans 1:20 says “20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” God made this world good and we can learn more about who God is by what we see around us.

There is this part of me that longs for the earth and all that is in it to be restored and perfected as I know that it should be. That is God’s promise to us in the New Earth. What I’m excited about is that we can get those magnificent glimpses of beauty around us. There is a great song by U2 that captures that beauty – the beauty of this land around us – our land. This land is our Heartland – our motherland – the place that God has intrinsically connected to us, for we were made from the dust of it and we will forever be tied to it. But even more so, this is my homeland of which I believe U2 has so clearly captured those emotions and images in this song:

So, welcome home to my brother Rich and his family. We can’t wait to see you. As you travel through this Heartland over the next several months, know that God has made us to enjoy the beauty around us and we hope your hearts are at home here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

When There are No Words

As you can see, there have not been many words for me to share in this space. The last 5 months have been ones of change, introspection, trying new things, and many holidays and celebrations. But as I look outside and see spring sprouting and blooming, I realize that I need to renew my own thoughts and look for those words…ones that I have hidden and ones I have lost.

It is pure emotion that I often write from – joy, pain, ponderings. There have been many in this time when I was away, but when I considered recording them, I just couldn’t. It’s as if the words were not ready…still simmering or baking or maturing. That doesn’t mean that I suddenly have a great revelation to share, it only means that they are slowly showing their faces again…or maybe that I am beginning to look for them again in earnest. Maybe this whole time they have been waiting for me to get past my latest distraction so that they could remind me of what is really important…what I am really meant to do.

In truth, I was afraid to look for them…afraid to find what they wanted to reveal to me. I’ve learned some not so great things about myself during this time. I’ve learned that most days I’m selfish, that I look for ways to satisfy my own desires instead of serving others. I focus on things and push people and relationships to the side. I am task oriented and materialistic and those things get in the way of what I know should be my focus. Yet, I keep pushing away the revelations, the obvious answers right in front of me. The words in my head…the whispers of what to do. The words of the Holy Spirit – trying ever so gently to direct my path and me, choosing stubbornly to continue on my own way.

While I know this is my lesson, it does not mean that I fully know what to do about it, only that I’m on the first step of this change. While I cannot make any promises or commitments here, I only ask that you look at your own journey as I do the same. We all have great places to go – places that are counter cultural and odd, yet more meaningful than we ever could imagine. Let’s go together.