Tag Archives: preachin

Building Roads

7 Jan

dsc_0238A couple weeks ago our family was playing the board game Catan. In it the players build roads, towns, and cities to get enough points to win.

I had drawn a card to build some road, and I said “I’ve got road to build but I don’t know where I want to go.”

In the context of the game, I was needing to figure out what my next strategic move was to best my opponents. But that phrase stuck with me.

All this road and I don’t know where I want to go. Kinda sounds like a country song.

But there is some hardcore truth in there too. Often I hear in spiritual circles to follow God, spirit, guidance etc. Yes, do that. But what happens when that becomes an excuse to not make any choices? When that becomes the reason we don’t set down our piece of road and commit, at least for the length of that piece of road?

Just at the beginning of the year we have a whole bunch of year in front of us. Maybe we know where we want to go, but maybe we only kinda sorta know. Maybe we are drifting in the sea of unknowing.

But just like me deciding where to put my road, a decision has to be made (or the folks you’re playing with start to get annoyed).

I think too often folks get caught up in the potential permanence of getting stuck in a decision, and that it will be the final answer for ever and ever so they stay put and stagnant, which is just another way to be stuck. But just like me deciding where to put my roads, there is more than one way to figure out what to do.

I can’t count how many times I have talked to someone getting out of a relationship and their bafflement of tolerating a certain behavior. I always say, well even if you don’t know exactly what you do want, at least you know what you don’t want! The clarity of knowing what you don’t want is an excellent step in the right direction. Because when you know what you don’t want, you have narrowed the left over choices. Yay!

I firmly believe there is a time for rest and a time for action, taking time to get centered, clear, and confident is essential. But what if the grand revelation you’re waiting for to take a bold step isn’t a blinding light on the road to Tarsus, or an apple falling on your head. What if it’s your barista saying something off-hand that sparks an idea? What if it’s noticing there isn’t a solution on the market for a need you have? What if it’s remembering ‘I’ve always wanted to do _______’ from your list of dreams when you were 8 years old.

Put down that road! Take the first step. That’s not saying that every idea will be THE idea, but it may get you to the crossroads you need to be at to see your real destination. Or it may take several more twists and turns to get on a road that make sense. And even when you do, it can still change. When I look at the various experiences, friendships, jobs, etc that have been a part of my life, in the moment they may not all seem to fit. But, when taken from the perspective of where I am now, I see how they all made me who I am now and gave me the skills I needed. By learning what was a ‘no’ I moved closer to what was a yes. Leaps of faith proved the power of following my calling. Relationship/friendship mistakes taught me how to be a better friend and partner. All those roads got me here. My dear friend Rev. Jennifer Holder said in a sermon many years ago, “I could have come no other way .”

That has stuck with me because it reminds me to have patience with thedsc_0243 silly choices I made in the past because they made me who I am. I don’t wait for the perfect moment, because the journey of the rest of my life starts now.

So I boldly lay down my road, sometimes I’ll be more pleased with the results than others, but I won’t sit here with a free roads card in my hand not deciding where to put them.

I got places to go.

Home

29 Aug

The other day Ben and I were out for a walk at night and we went by a stream and I sighed and said, “sounds like home.” His reply, “it is home.” He’s right of course, we were less than a mile from where my teddy bear Frosty lives (which is as good a definition of home as any.)

I know some people who have lived in the same area a large portion of their lives, maybe in that case, it’s easy to say where home is.

I’ve lived here over 5 years. This is where my life is at this moment. It is home.

I lived in Chicago for 2.5 years and it was where I couldn’t wait to get back to when I was traveling.

I lived in Ellensburg for almost 2 years in college, it was my town and I loved it.

Then there was the 20ish years I lived somewhere in Kitsap County WA. This is where I grew up, where I had my first kiss and first heartbreak. Where I learned to drive and read and climb trees and ride a bike. Where each summer I’d hunt blackberries for my mom’s cobbler and jam. Where I stayed up all night talking on the phone to my BFF Zeb and broke my arm at tap dance class. Where I hosted my first NGU event and celebrated Halloween at the church Boo Bash every year.

(if you’re doing the math and you think there’s some time missing, I lived in FL for a short time when I was little)

I have a picture of the Olympic mountains on as the wallpaper on my computer. Looking at the mountains is a bit of zen for me. The picture happens to be ‘my’ mountains, but any beautiful mountain or forest picture will do it. I have a closeup pic of the Unity Village cloverleaf fountain on my phone wallpaper which also is a moment of peace. (It’s the same pic that is the wallpaper for this blog.)

I realized a long time ago that pining over my dear mountains wouldn’t bring more peace to my life, so I don’t. But I can’t deny that I’m connected to the place I came from. Sense memories pop up at all sorts of times, like the other day with Ben when I hear rushing water in the woods, it ‘felt like home.’ Not diminishing this place as being special, but saying that it felt familiar.

Really, I think that’s what feels like home means. It feels comfortable, familiar, there is a sense of belonging.

While Kitsap is a precious part of my life, and I  enjoy visiting, it is not my home, it was. Especially now that my parents don’t live there anymore.

I went to the dictionary, this is what Merriam-Webster had to say:

Definition of HOME

a : one’s place of residence : domicile
b : house
: the social unit formed by a family living together
a : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also :the focus of one’s domestic attention <home is where the heart is>
b : habitat
a : a place of origin <salmon returning to their home to spawn>; also : one’s own country <having troubles at home and abroad>
b : headquarters 2 <home of the dance company>

I find # 3 and 4 to be particularly applicable to what I’m talking about, it is familiar and/or a place of origin. What I said about Frosty earlier is truly as good a definition of what home is for me. Wherever she is, is home. Or as a million cross stitch samplers proclaim, ‘home is where the heart is.’

I just got the new Muppets Green album, another feeling of familiarity mixed with something new. There is a great song sung by Gonzo, one of my favorite lines is: “There’s not a word yet, for old friends who just met… or have I found my place.” Maybe that’s really what all this comes back to, when you find the place, it’s an old friend even when it’s the first time.

Or maybe home isn’t a place at all…

Here’s Gonzo and company:

May everywhere you go, feel like home.

Love,

Rachel

Real Caves and Truthful Fiction

23 May
The first week in April my dear dear friend Terry and I visited Hannibal MO

on the way home from our friend Ron’s ordination ceremony. Hannibal was the childhood home of Mark Twain and Terry wanted to check it out. So we cheerfully set out on our adventure.It has been a LONG time since I read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  The museum was pretty interesting, and they had some of the buildings that Mark Twain or his friends would have hung out in or reproductions of them. Then we were told we HAD to see this cave. The Mark Twain cave. So down the road we went, paid our admission and grabbed our hoodies (it’s always 52 degrees in the cave).Our knowledgeable and fun guide told us all sorts of interesting facts as we followed him through twists and turns. He wove together the story of the person who discovered the cave, the strange things that have happened in it and the story of Tom, Becky and Injun Joe. As we passed the ‘post office’ where Tom and Becky left letters for each other, an ‘AWWWW’ arose from the women in the group as our 19ish year old guide rolled his eyes. By the end of the 55 minute tour we were wrapped up in his magical story and then he reminded us that all the references to the Mark Twain stories were just that, a story.

WOAH partner!

Along with taking these cool pics, I was following along with the story and even though I kept reminding myself that it was a story, I found myself ‘Aww’ing along with everyone else.

I told Terry later that it would make a great talk, this whole experience. We went to Huck Finn’s house, but no, we really couldn’t now could we? We saw some beautiful caves, but Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer did not get lost or leave letters for each other in them. (Though it is confirmed that Jesse James did hide out there.)

What is real? Because a book is in a certain section of the library does that make it more authoritative than another? Does it make it more true? Does true mean historically/factually accurate or that Truth is expressed? Or are real people and places just a good foundation for a great story?

Here I make the not very big leap to apply all this to the Bible. (gasp!)

Many people take everything in the Bible as true and many people think it’s all made up. What if it’s both? What if the real places and people of Jerusalem were a good foundation for a great story that has a lot of Truth even if there isn’t historical accuracy?In my bible interpretation class every group that has presented so far has related the sections theywere working with to some Truth they have learned. Maybe Truth is wherever you look for it.For real
Rachel