Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why the Best Part of the Trip is Going Home

I love a good road trip.   Getting in the car and appreciating the journey to elsewhere reflecting on where I am at in life and anticipating the destination.  While I enjoy traveling, I realized occasionally in the hustle and bustle of a trip, what I actually love more is the trip home. 

Kids snoozing in the dim quiet, softly glowing dashboard lights mixed with red hazy taillights.  Warm coffee thawing my hands.  Hushed conversation with Jerry amidst periods of silence – two hands linked together.  The moon lighting our path, pointing us home.  

Do you enjoy traveling?  When is going home more desirable (if ever)?

Friday, October 04, 2013

Labyrinth + A Snake = God's Heart

I took a walk yesterday – in a garden – alone (except for the snake) – isolated in the woods.  All things about that statement pretty much terrify me.  I’m not a nature gal, but appreciate it.  I’m rarely alone…so much so that my ears ring when it is quiet.  And snakes – don’t get me started!  I drive into the gardens and trails with an air of fear agitating me.  I pay to park, seeing only a mother and her young boys and the guide in the welcome center.  He says, “Take this path to the labyrinth…it’s…um, just better…you’ll see.”

I step forward, all fear dissipating…the beauty and wonder before me.  It is a blue sky, breezy, sun prism day – early fall, the crunch of leaves under my feet – not cool, not hot.  I head down the path, past the tended gardens, into the woods; enveloped in greenery overhead, beside, in front.  I turn and see the wooden bridge over the algae blanketed pond.  Noises of crickets and katydids welcome me.  I cross and enter the path.  I listen to the babble of the brook, the steady rush of the waterfall into the stream.  

I almost step on his chain-linked pattern body – tiny snake in the path.  He has heard me pounding up and is still…head poised up, listening.  I can’t resist him and stop to take a picture – the only picture of this trip.  He enchants me and I whisper, “You are so cute!”

I twist and turn on the path…the leaf and tree markers a blur in my peripheral.  As much as I would like to read them all and linger, I’m keenly aware of my mission and the fact that the sun sets earlier these days and I’m alone in this desolation.  

I approach the last bend before the labyrinth.  I pause at the opening and read – instructions, etiquette.  Labyrinth – “an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one's way or to reach the exit.  A maze of paths bordered by high hedges, as in a park or garden, for the amusement of those who search for a way out.” (www.dictionary.com)  While this is the formal definition of the area I am about to enter, I made the pilgrimage here to find something and rest in the confidence that I am not lost.  In fact, I am sure I am found.

I pray as I walk into the limestone labyrinth path…silently, surely…trudging quietly; grasshoppers and locusts spraying outwards from the prairie grass as I disturb their rest; sun warming my face.  I am euphoric in my thanks and praise – not the usual tone of my discourse with God.  I listen, crunching feet, sun hiding in a small rainbow behind a cloud.  God tells me he loves me.  Of course, I knew, but like any relationship, it is important to be reminded.  He keeps saying, “Be quiet, my child.”  Why is this so hard for me, for us?  I prattle on in my mind.  I pray quietly and slowly.  In the middle of my quest God says, “I am mighty and strong and it would do you well to remember.”  Oh how often I have forgotten!  Put God in a box – limit him to my own understanding of the circumstances and situation.  And when we hurt – don’t we restrict him further?  Our pain in constant focus and his universe blurred, distorted…greatness lost in our human amnesia.

Somehow this makes me laugh – because I am his child and there is a bit of scolding in his voice.  I promise that I will remember.  I reach the center of the labyrinth.  I sit in the quiet – sun blazing past the cloud…I move to another boulder, to feel the heat on my back.  

I don’t want to walk out, but I perceive the sun sinking.  I am quiet now and I hear the words to an old, old song my mom sang in church.  I see a shadow pass over me – a hawk.  The song echoes in my memory, “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breadth of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.”  A reminder, promise, wonder, majesty, glory, our smallness, his infiniteness. 
I take the sunny path back through the prairie grasses.  I hear the crackly, ocean-like sound of the breeze blowing through the birch trees.  This experience so ordinary from the outward appearance, such mystery, and over abundant gift to my inner psyche.