Posted by: karanoel | March 25, 2021

Where are we going?

The pandemic has severely cramped the style of our “life group” which rotates through the houses of this sweet, homegrown community. While over a dozen adults talk, laugh and learn something about Jesus, 15 kids of various ages run wild and build their own community. As it was decidedly unwise for that many people to gather in the time of covid, we have missed nearly a year of time together. But recently, to my great joy, we were able to meet up with many of them on a cool, beautiful day at the beach. It felt so good and right to be together again; to connect with these people we have grown to love.

There were games of smashball, volleyball and something called can jam. A sandcastle was erected and one determined kid braved the frigid water. But mostly, we sat on our beach chairs in the fresh breeze catching up on life. There was much to be shared about jobs, school, health and the future, sprinkled with good natured teasing. There was one particular conversation that stood out that day and has been causing a stir in my thoughts ever since. 

One of the married couples said they had posed a question to each other. “We are 90 years old, sitting in our rocking chairs. What do you regret not having done?” For one of the pair, the answer was to experience living out of state. For the other, it was the lifelong dream of sailing around for months at a time. As a result of this conversation, they are planning to rent out their California home while they try out another state this fall. And they are hashing out plans the following year for sailing expeditions off the east coast with their three kids. Judging by the family adventures they’ve already had, these ideas aren’t remotely far fetched.

It seemed like such a wise thing; brilliant, even. To go to the end and look backwards: A hindsight of sorts that you can use to plot your course forward. It’s the same way these friends will plan their sailing trips… by deciding upon a destination (or a whole slew of them) and charting their way there, which will presumably produce different results than wandering around the sea hoping to hit an island or two. Or never taking to the sea at all.

My family had a similar discussion a short time later with a few familiar results, like learning Spanish, writing a book, visiting national parks, exploring Europe and the longstanding (but diminishing-with-age) desire to adopt. No immediate plans were made for any of these things, but it did stoke further thought on which are nice ideas that would be enjoyed if they fell into our laps and which are worth actively working toward… and potentially sacrificing for. 

A whole other train of thought was spawned that carries even more weight for me, like what do we most want to impart to Chase for the remaining years he is in our home? I have no interest in charting a rigid course to get there, filled with striving and achievement (for us or him), but I do believe that determining what we want him to know above all when he leaves our home gives us a clear sense of direction for our path while he’s here. 

The most significant impact of this conversation, though, was not from the vantage point of a rocking chair or an empty nest, but from that of heaven, when I am finally standing face to face with Jesus. What do I want to have known? How do I want to have lived? If I look to my Father for a destination, it is clear that he wants me to know above all how deeply, powerfully and wonderfully loved I am – and always have been, even in my messiest moments (and years). And to live as one who loves as deeply and generously as I’ve been loved. I’m a little ways into this journey, thanks to the course plotted in the Bible and massive navigational help from the Holy Spirit, but I am gaining a greater desire to get there with far less wandering and distraction, and with less worry. So I’m pressing ahead through prayer and surrender. It is hard to know what the legs ahead will look or feel like; what hardships or great joys await; what wild stories there will be to tell. But I do know that it is a destination more worthwhile than any other and I’m more convinced than ever that it is worth any cost to get there.

Where sky and water meet
Where the waves grow sweet
Doubt not, Reepicheep
To find all you seek
There is the utter East

― C.S. Lewis ( The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)


Responses

  1. This one is provoking an important talk that Karen and I will have with our children. Thank you!!

    • I love how the body of Christ works together!


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