I returned safely from my quick trip to Bloomington, Indiana. Quick is the key word. I picked up the rental van at 7:30 am Tuesday, arrived in Bloomington at 7:30 pm, left at 11:00 am the next morning and was home by 10:30 Wednesday evening with my daughter Suzanne and her possessions. I drove 1400 miles in less than 40 hours which for many Americans is not that extraordinary. It was an efficient trip, but not transformative.
The strongest memory of this trip will probably be the walk and meal I had with my daughter and her roommate. As we walked, Suzanne detailed some of her adventures and I realized that I had missed her over the past months. Parenting is filled with best guesses. Though I had my reservations about her post-college move, I knew she had to try it. Suzanne moved to live with a former college roommate. Her part-time job as a tele-marketing interviewer was frustrating as she really wanted to be a baker. After eight months in Bloomington she was ready to try something new. The trip became more about her journey than my own. Fortunately God weaves various people into our life journeys to help guide the way.
Bacon Ice Cream Delight
The other strong memory from this trip will be the desert Suzanne and I shared at the Upland Brewing Restaurant: BACON ICE CREAM. I had never heard of it but Suzanne assured me it was for real. Suzanne has always loved bacon and seeing it on the menu I knew she would order it. I asked for two spoons so I could simply taste it. After I tasted it, I wished that I had ordered my own dish. Suzanne waxed eloquently about the combination of sweet cream and salty bacon. I just kept eating. Transformative it wasn’t, but still a delight. And I remain thankful for the delight of seeing my daughter and enjoying bacon ice cream.
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
What has provided you delight or joy in recent days? How have you celebrated that joy?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the joy that joy bring to life for you are the source of all real joy.
The Turning Point in My Journey
Tomorrow I am driving to Bloomington, Indiana, to pick up my daughter Suzanne and her things and together we will drive home. It will be short trip, but I am looking
forward to it. I am not looking for any drama, but I am open to an adventure and change during the journey.
Journeys are a frequent theme in the Scriptures. A couple of weeks ago in worship, we read about the two disciples who walked seven miles to Emmaus and during the walk encountered Jesus. Their simple walk became a spiritual journey of transformation. (I posted on this story here).
There are many other such journeys in the Bible. The Israelites journeyed/wandered in the wilderness for forty years after their exodus from slavery in Egypt and prior to their
arrival in the Promised Land. Elijah the prophet made the journey from Northern
Israel to Mt. Horeb in Sinai to encounter God (I Kings 19). Jonah made a side trip to the sea and a whale before making the trip to Nineveh. Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to pray and fast before starting his ministry (Matthew 4) and later set his face towards Jerusalem for his passion (Matthew 16:21). The book of Acts is filled with journeys, especially Paul’s missionary sojourns.
Contemporary literature also uses the metaphor of journey for spiritual transformation. J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader both use the journey motif as means to describe the main characters movement from self-centered, complacent beings to courageous, self-sacrificing heroes. Their stories carry the Biblical image into our current worldview.
I don’t expect any major transformation during my drive to and from Indiana. After all it is only three days. But I think any journey has the potential to open us up to new perspectives and insights, especially if we invite God to be a part of the journey. I’ll let you know when I return.
Jesus said, I am the way. (John 14:7)
Do you remember a trip or journey where the Spirit renewed or redirected your life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, guide me this day on the path to life.
The Journey to Bethlehem
The Christmas story is filled with journeys: Mary’s and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, the magi’s visit to the child, the holy family’s escape from King Herod into Egypt. Even the shepherds had a night hike from the fields to the stable in order to see the baby. Perhaps we all need to do a little traveling to discover Jesus.
This week my two daughters are traveling home. Christina flew in Saturday after her first semester at college. Suzanne will arrive tomorrow from her new home in Bloomington, IN. I will be glad to have them under our roof for a time; it will certainly add to the Christmas joy. Yet I know it is temporary; their life-paths are taking them on new adventures that may or may not be in close proximity to Carolyn’s and mine. I guess that is part of trusting Jesus to guide the way.
I am also remembering one snowy December evening when I was flying home to Washington state for Christmas. I had been gone a whole year, having worked the summer near my college in Philadelphia. I had to change planes here in the Twin Cities and a snow storm had shut down the airport. I was sitting in the terminal, waiting for my Seattle flight, feeling homesick and very much alone. I wondered if I would ever get home as the snow piled up outside. As the night got deeper and longer, I thought about Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. How lonely they must have felt, yet God was right there with them. It slowly dawned on me that God was with me that night as well. Emmanuel, God with us, is the intimate message of Christmas. Little did I know at the time, that I would invest more than thirty years in the Twin Cities, discovering God’s presence and power among its residents.
In what ways have Christmas’ journeys impacted your life?