working out what life and call and prayer and silence are all about

Posts tagged ‘travel’

abundant life at home

Traveling is incredibly stimulating to me. Seeing new sites, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures – all of this sets my senses on high alert and makes me almost giddy. And this state of being is perfect for the discipline of awareness. Looking for abundant life in a new setting was a breeze. Where wasn’t I seeing God at work, pouring out life in abundance?

And then I came home. I had to do laundry. I had to go through the mail. I had to feed the dog. And my son. None of these are exciting tasks in my life, yet they are all necessary (especially feeding that boy.) So where is the abundant life in the midst of the drudgery?

I led worship this morning. I was kind of a mess. I couldn’t find where last week’s substitute pastor left my lavaliere mic. I almost started the service without a bulletin to tell me what page we needed to be on. And I totally blanked on what I say every week when we collect the offering. But as I was swirling in my own personal chaos, people were gathering and sharing stories of their week’s work. Our pianist played a moving prelude. Readers proclaimed God’s Word with passion and expression. Kids came running up to me for the children’s sermon. People responded to my sermon, even when I felt like I was heading off on too many tangents.

And just in case I wasn’t paying attention to all these wonderful signs of abundant life, God gave me the choir. They sang a John Bell song from the Iona Community: We Will Take What You Offer, and let me tell you: they rocked it. 4 parts, staggered entrances, building excitement, conveying commitment to discipleship, filling our hearts with passion to do the same.

Their voices lifted me up and reminded me that I was home. These are my people – friends in Christ, partners in ministry. And as we sing together and pray together and work together, we live out the abundant life Christ promised. I thank God for them.

Abundance on planes, trains, and automobiles

Traveling as an introvert who seeks new experiences is a challenge. On the one hand, I am overwhelmed by the sensory input of the experience: new surroundings to observe, a cacophony of sounds to sort through, strange scents wafting from fellow passengers, and a general unfamiliarity to process. On the other, I am drawn to people and their stories: I see a mother and her son and I want to find out what grade he’s in, I observe an older man dragging a very worn and overstuffed briefcase and I want to ask about his long career, I sit down next to a young woman studying a script and I want to know everything about her upcoming production. What’s a curious introvert to do?

At the end of the day, my heart is full. I helped a family of 5 navigate security. I put headphones in to block out the loud talker across the aisle. I was mesmerized by the lights of the city reflecting off the water as we landed. I shared a pleasant conversation with a young man with sparkling brown eyes who checked me in to the hotel.

I didn’t accomplish much in a day. I simply got myself from one place to another. But in the traveling, I participated in the abundant common life we share. There are those who dread airplanes and the waiting and the inconveniences. But in the uncertainties, I discover connection and energy and life, abundant life. There are people in the world living fascinating lives, and we all converge in surprising ways among the maze of terminals and shuttles. It’s our openness to one another, our interest in what we share, and our welcoming of differences that makes us truly human. I become more of me when you share more of you. And that is abundant living.

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