Life can slip away, run right through our fingers and leave us wondering where all the days have gone--where all the years have gone.
Yes, life can slip away.
And that feeling of time running out, time running away? Sometimes it makes me want to run away, too.
It's the third week of April when I do my own running, drive straight across state lines with my mom and her cousin to find a bit of reprieve, a bit of time to breath and laugh and create and be.
Because who can really live at all when there's no time or space or strength to just be?
My grandma, she meets us there, too, in that house by the lake full of childhood memories. We talk late and we laugh long and all of us, we're grateful to leave behind the everyday life for a while.
But it's the second day of our retreat when I wake up early and I feel it here, too--that time's running out, running away and all I want is to shout at the top of my lungs for the whole world to stop turning for just one day. An hour? Even one single minute?
There might still be five more days to live here in this hideaway by the lake, but how can I drink deep of this water of rest when I'm busy guzzling down the flood of dread--that sinking dread of returning to the everyday hard and the everyday mundane? How can a soul even feel the joy of a moment when the head's too full of fearing what comes next?
But isn't this also true--that there'll be no more room for dread or fear or anything else at all if I choose to drink my fill of the here and now, of the God Who Is and all this Love I'm in?
Maybe this is what it means to make a Home in Christ--to stop looking at where we've been and where we're going just to find out what we most need to know. Because we're searching in all the wrong places to figure out where we are, who we are, and the Truth's been right here all along. We're in Christ and we are His and He's our Home--and isn't that the only place we want to be?
This life, it might be a marathon of slogging through the mud and pushing past every last aching of the soul. And the Apostle Paul, he's told us straight out to keep our eyes on the goal--but the thing we keep forgetting? It's this: The prize we're reaching, striving, aching for?
It's not the life after this one.
And God, He's not the one way off in the distance, waiting to welcome us at the finish line. No, He's the One running right beside us, pouring everything He's got into getting us through the race.
The only way to keep our eyes on the prize, keep our eyes fixed on Him? It's to stop agonizing over a past that's gone and wrestling with a future that's not yet here. It's to drink our fill of the water He's holding out to us while we run arm in arm--the water of this day, this hour, this very minute.
He's the only One Who can take all the yesterdays and tomorrows and redeem them for His Glory. And what He's asked of us? It's to make ourselves at Home in Him today--to settle right into the God Who Is and find He's enough to fill a whole parched life to the brim.
There's only one way I know to grab hold of the now and look it full in the face. So I pick up a journal on that second day away from home and I count the graces one by one, chronicle the days in Gifts, not Time. Word by word and minute by minute, I settle into here, settle into Him.
And this is how I finally figure it out--I haven't left Home at all.
Because I couldn't leave Him if I tried.
Over the next several days, I'll be recording my recent travels in words and photos and, yes, maybe even a video or two. Because this counting of His Gifts, this chronicling of the moments? It's how I number my days. It's how I make my home in Him. It's how I really, truly live. Join me?
The first day of my trip...
1477. Bags packed at last, vacation finally here
1478. Everything loaded in the car, us three women and all our gear
1479. Memories of last year's adventure drifting back, weather uncannily the same
1480. All of us keeping eyes peeled for a rainbow since that's the gift He gave last time
1481. Seeing it at last--that enormous piece of rainbow stretched from the river's edge, four hours into the journey
1482. Me giddy in the backseat, eyes glued to His gift in the sky
1483. Belly laughs at the rest stop, all of us refreshed for the last leg of the journey
1484. Sun setting while we drive through the hills
1485. Those wisps of cloud radiating vertical from the horizon
1486. Clear view of snow-laden peak, day's last light landing soft
1487. Bank of fluffy clouds forming a mountain range all their own
1488. Those two deer treading on the hillside at dusk
1489. Reaching our destination as the day finally fade and one star appears
1490. Grandma waiting for us, house full of warmth and light
1491. Car unloaded, us settling in to being here
1492. Talking late into the night
1493. That one goose honking when I lay down for sleep
1494. And the whole flock letting me know when it's morning