I’ve come to realize in this journey how much of life is determined by what’s next. For example; when I was working, if invited to do something on Sunday afternoon that would run late into the evening, my first thought would be, “I have to work tomorrow.”
Last night at church, many asked me, “Where are you staying?” and “Where are you going next?” I only know the answer to one of those questions. Ceasar Milan always talks about how dogs “live in the moment” and I thought I understood what he was saying, until now.
There’s something very freeing about not knowing what comes next. I suppose I could print a sign-up sheet and have everyone that has said, “You can stay at my place” sign it. I probably would want to include a column for them to put the dates that would work best for them. Then I could sit down with a calendar and schedule my summer. When asked, “Where are you going next?” I could pull up the calendar app on my phone and have an immediate answer.
Of course, then, if an unexpected invitation should arise, “Hey, you want to join us and go to the coast for a couple of days?” what would I do with my calendar? Push everyone back a couple of days? Drop someone or cut their time short? Would that hurt feelings? Would I make anyone mad? Maybe it would be easier if I just didn’t go to the coast.
Not being locked into what comes next makes it easy to live in the moment and be free to respond to what comes next when it comes. I’ve discovered that living in the moment has opened up another level of connection with the Lord. We truly are doing life together!
I visited a friend that lives in the country today. Standing at the sink as I filled a glass with her wonderful well water, I looked out the window to see a deer. She was lounging on the deck without a care in the world, enjoying the peace of having found a place where she can relax and be alone. We have something in common, the deer and I.
You can see in the picture that obstacles were put in place to keep this very thing from happening, but that didn’t stop her. I don’t know how she got onto the deck but my friend said she takes respite there daily.
I’m enjoying the respite my little van provides. I remember when I made the purchase four years ago, I thought, “I would love to live in this and be a gypsie.” But there were obstacles in the way, obstacles in the form of responsibilities, debt, fear of the unknown. I’m sure when the deer first saw this deck with all of it’s barriers she told herself, “I would love to be in there, but I don’t see a way.” She didn’t give up, she persevered and today she is rewarded with something none of the other deer can have.
Many people tell me, “You’re so lucky” when I tell them what I’m doing. No my friends, it’s not luck at all. It took perseverance, boldness and a God that loves me and paved the way for this season in my life to happen. I am very blessed to be living this dream, and extremely grateful that He has provided a quiet little place I can relax and be alone with Him.
My son and youngest brother orchestrated a family reunion, the first one ever for our ragtag group. It was great to see everyone. The kids, last time we were together for a funeral, are now the parents of a new crop of younguns. It was fun to see them all meet each other for the first time and get to know each other, a process that took all of 30 seconds. Then they played hard all day long. I don’t know if they will remember the day, but it happened and it’s now a part of their history.
I heard many stories over the course of the weekend. Things occurred that I was not aware of during my son’s growing up years. Things that have shaped him, determined his thinking, maybe even established his self-worth. We were in the same place at the same time but have completely different memories. Identical twins may share the same DNA but not even they have exactly the same experiences. Only God knows and understands completely all of the things that have happened to each of us and makes us who we are. As I was made aware this past weekend, we don’t remember everything in our history.
One of my brothers is looking for answers to questions he has about missing pieces in his past. As I was filling in some of the details, I realized how limited my knowledge is. That humbles me and makes me even more dependent on the One who knows me all the way back to Adam. There’s nothing that is a mystery to Him, nothing He doesn’t know about where I have been, what I’ve done or how it has affected me. He also knows the plans He has for me. And no area of my life has become so tangled that He can’t unravel it. It behooves me to cling to Him and listen closely for His still small whisper saying. “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
Waking up thinking you are in one place, only to realize you are someplace much better is a great way to start a day. Coffee made with freshly ground beans, vanilla creamer and my most cherished cup; these are a few of my favorite things. It was a beautiful spring morning and walking down to the river I felt overwhelmingly blessed.
This is where I sat and listened this morning.
My view was spectacular, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
This picture makes it look very serene and in a sense it is. But what the picture doesn’t show is sound. If it hadn’t taken me three days to figure out how to load these two pictures onto this blog I would be posting a video I took of this very spot, with sound. Just to the right of this picture is Rattlesnake Rapids. It’s called that because it sounds like a whole bunch of angry rattlers. The reason the river goes from peaceful to raging? Resistance.
Just before and immediately after Rattlesnake Rapids the water is content to serenely work it’s way to the Pacific Ocean. There’s no sense of urgency and sitting by the river promotes a sense of peace. If you’re floating the river, these are the places you take your oars out of the water, find a comfortable position and let the water take you along on it’s journey. But when you hear the waters ahead tumbling and roaring you go on high alert and prepare for the challenge of staying upright no matter what the waters throw at you.
As I sat here on day two listening, I thought of how like the river we are. As long as things are going well and there are no obstacles in our way we become content to travel the path we’re on. We maybe don’t pray as much or think about our need for God. But as soon as we sense rough waters ahead we turn our hearts to God, we pray more and even admit that if God doesn’t help us we may just sink.
Obstacles, that’s what make the waters roar. Rocks in the pathway that make the waters seek a different route, tumble and swirl, making their voice heard in the process.
Could it be that when obstacles appear in my life that God is saying, “You need to spend some time with Me, I want to hear your voice.” The next time obstacles appear in my life I hope I will remember this morning at the river and do an inventory of how much time I’ve been spending with the One that made me and never stops thinking about me. Could it be I’ve become too content and I’m sitting back comfortably with my oars out of the water just letting life take me where it will?
If the step is a bold one, it is taken with fear and trepidation and it will be followed by second guessing, questions and more fear. You’ll feel like Peter, stepping out onto the water. It was something he had never done and he was filled with doubt that it was possible. But he looked into the eyes of his Master and when he heard “Come to Me” he could do nothing else. I’ve heard that call. The call to leave the safety of a life lived inside boundaries and step out into the unknown. It’s exciting, exhilarating and at the same time terrifying.
The natural mind cannot comprehend how this can be possible; to live without an income and have no place to call home. To lock eyes with my Savior and walk out onto the water with Him may sound ludicrous to many. I’ve talked to some that have done this very thing. I’ve never heard one of them say they had regrets. My excitement trumps the fears and misgivings that try and take me captive a thousand times a day.
This is day one. I’m going to be living in my 19ft RV conversion van and going where the wind blows me. I know the winds are directed by the One who created me and knows the plans He has for me. I also know that He promises that if we draw near to Him He will draw near to us. Drawing near to Him. That is my goal.
I believe that as I get closer and closer to Him I will become more and more me. Not the person my roles have required me to be, but who He created me to be. The object of His affection, He talks about me in Psalm 139. If you haven’t read it lately I challenge you to do so.
I’ve taken my one step and the journey has begun. First setback is that I found out, that in spite of all my care to winterize, I have a water leak. So day two will involve a trip to the RV repair shop. Not what I had planned for the day, but then again isn’t the point of this whole journey to teach me not to plan?
The plans of man are many, but the will of the Lord always prevails.