Well, loyal reader, fear no more, I am alive and well! If you missed my tri-weekly posts for the past couple of weeks, I have good news for you! Likewise, if you found the two weeks of freedom from my random thoughts to be a welcome respite, I have some bad news. We are ready to get the ball rolling again.
I wanted to take a few hundred words today to fill you in on the past couple of weeks. The Sunday before Labor Day, the community that I was so privileged to be a part of for the past five years met for the last time. There has been a mixture of sadness in the finality of it all blended with thankfulness for the past, joy for the present and hope for the future. We had been working hard to be still and hear the word of the Lord together for all this time, so when with prayer and wise counsel we heard him bringing Tapestry of Hope to and end, we have been finding so much comfort in the simple fact that this was his work from first to last.
Birmingham to Ohio
On that Thursday after Labor Day, I packed up my books, my guitar, my reading chair and my dog and headed out West- well West via Ohio, anyway. I got to spend the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law who have also been headed into an unknown place and a new adventure, uprooting and moving my eight-month-old niece to a land flowing with Buckeyes and humidity.
As I made the first leg of the trip, angling Northeast through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and finally Ohio, I reflected on the truly irreplaceable time I had in the South. I learned so much more than the meaning of the archaic ritualistic chant Roll Tide!. I gained so much more than the degree I set out after. I found a community of people who supported me along this path of life. I found friends who wept with me and friends who rejoiced with me. I learned that the church really can be the church. Our words need not be empty and ineffectual. The Spirit is really moving even amongst a broken people. We can love and be loved- really and truly.
Ohio to Denver
And as I set out a week ago to drive from Ohio to California, I was surprised again by my own heart’s reaction. I had been looking forward to this time as a refreshing two days completely alone and able to hear his voice uninterrupted. Two days of true “introvert” time- I was almost as excited about these two days as I was the journey’s end.
Instead of introvert time, I found myself yearning for the presence of others. I called my dad, my mom, a few friends and my girlfriend. I turned on the radio and scanned till I found a friendly voice- which takes a while through the states of Missouri and Kansas, incidentally.
I am reminded of something Bonhoeffer phrased so simply: Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…let him who is not in community beware of being alone. I am often surprised when he refreshes me by the words of others when it is time alone that I so often crave. There is a difference between introversion and isolation and it lies here. That impulse in me to live life alone is just as destructive as the person who cannot be alone and still.
And after a day of being with others, I was reminded of the extreme privilege of a warm bed in a cool Denver hotel room and a half-way mark home.
After traveling through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and the never-ending Netherworld of Nevada, I was reminded of how comforting it is to be with family. To be home with my mom, who I appreciate more with every day, and my dad, who shows up clearer in the mirror every morning, brings with it a sweeter taste as the years go by. I think back to a few years ago, how hard I struggled against turning into my dad, a man who has provided for my mom and three sons everything from food to advice on fielding a ground ball. I love being on the other side of that struggle and I would thank the Lord for giving me that kind of faithfulness and love.
On Thursday of last week, I woke up earlier than I have in years and headed down to the airport to pick up the girl I have chased from Alabama to Washington. I remember in college dreading bringing a girlfriend around my crazy family. What I have started to realize over these past years is that I am every bit as crazy, if not more so, than my folks. Who knew, right? Man, I was stupid when I was 21.
After a weekend of relaxation, introductions, playing with my oldest niece, and celebrating my big brothers’ 31st birthday (I can the hear footsteps thirty closing in even now), I find myself writing in a Seattle coffee shop. I love the surroundings here, so full of life and adventure. I love watching the Author write my story.
Back to our focus on the incarnation of God over the next couple of days!