We went on “vacation” last week to Garden City Beach with my family. Some dear, dear folks have graciously given us use of their condo since I was 6 years old and that has been the greatest blessing! Enoch has been talking about the beach all summer and it was great for Evy to experience it as well! The first day she was like ew…sand…yuck, but by the last day she was sitting in the mud as we dug a huge pool, river and pond. I know, I know – who digs a river…and yes, in high tide, someone probably fell over in that deep hole we dug as the “pool.” But it was good times!
Why is vacation in quotation marks? Because when you take a one and a half and three year old to the beach or anywhere for that matter on “vacation” is it really vacation? Trying to get them to sleep, follow directions, eat, nap and overall keep them sane and occupied is a near miracle and is certainly not restful for anyone. Last week’s lectionary text from Hebrews (11:1-3, 8-16) begins by talking about faith and uses Abraham as an example as he is given this promise of God and sets out on this journey with his wife Sarah across parts unknown sleeping in tents and not knowing what the next day will bring but having this promise. Dude. We can’t even make it to the beach without a gazillion toys, snacks, books, and all of the “stuff” that we need to survive for less than a week.
On the way to the beach (we left on a Sunday night) and I was exhausted. Like for real tired. The kids were asleep cuddled up in their child seats with their stuffed animals and I wanted to fall asleep so badly, but I’ve always been the one to drive to the beach and Mike doesn’t know all the cut throughs to get down there the non-GPS way. So here I am awake telling him to go down Old Marion Road, no not that light, the next one, etc. And I’m thinking oh wow – Abraham had no map, had no GPS, had no clearly marked laid out plan, and yet he took off, packed himself and his family up, and trusted God.
That is CRAZY. There are many of us that are anti-GPS or even anti-google directions or anti-maps. Some of us like to wander. Some of us like to discover. Some of us like the journey. (Not with two toddlers, mind you…but you get the drift.) J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Dad actually picked up a t-shirt with those words while we were at the beach. Of course we gave him a hard time for that because that’s what we do since he loves his Mt. Mitchell camping extravaganzas, but I must say that I secretly liked the shirt a lot. And I’ve always loved that quote.
Sometimes our wandering is part of the journey. I was thrilled to return home and get our latest Entertainment Weekly out of the mailbox. I love that magazine. I do! Call me crazy but I love stories and I love a magazine that talks about movies, tv, broadway, and books and has great columns with critical thinkers. Good stuff. Anyway – so there was a surprise for me in this issue. I thought my days of getting little nuggets about the tv show Lost were over, but little did I know that with the new collection of dvd’s coming out, I’d get another gift of an article. Some of you are like why in the world are you still talking about that ridiculous show and others of you are thinking I need to go get me an Entertainment Weekly. But seriously it totally made sense to me and this text and this place that many of us are in – this journey. Carlton Cuse one of the Executive Producers who wrote the show’s finale with Damon Lindelof were talking about how the finale was polarizing – some people happy with it and some people feeling like they wasted 6 years of their lives watching it. He says, “It seems that the people who embraced the show as a journey and were not fixated on answers probably had the better experience with the show.” Call me crazy but I completely resonate with that right now in terms of real life…
I’m not saying that we don’t wrestle with the big answers and the twists and turns and the why’s because as I’ve said before – God can handle those and God will give us what we need, but I am saying that part of this is the walk that we are on. Part of this journey, this path is faith. Faith that some of the big answers will take care of themselves and some may never get answered on this side of life, but faith that the journey – the life of faith that we lead – is enough. It’s really easy to talk about faith and a lot harder to embrace it. It’s really easy to talk the big talk about taking the scenic route and trusting our instincts or the leading of the Holy Spirit, but it’s a lot harder to put our money where our mouth is and not take the GPS. Sometimes our faith leads us in scary directions with no quick Curious George DVD to plug in and a feeling of vertigo, and that’s tough and it’s scary and it’s real, but sometimes those scary places lead us to mountains of the highest heights and views we couldn’t have imagined and memories we will cherish like my prissy and beautiful little Evy with gritty and slimy beach sand all over her happily playing in the muck and loving it. If we get stuck in place or if we’re too scared to move or if we stick our heads in the sand or are too busy to notice or care – yeah life seems pretty point a to b to c to d, turn left here, stay straight, this is how you get to your next destination. But if we let go and let the Spirit lead…yep, we may have some twists and turns, yes, turbulence could be ahead, but what a ride. What a faith that speaks.