Posts Tagged ‘alone

23
Feb
21

Making Connections

At the tender age of 12, my mom and dad sent me to summer camp.

Pretty standard stuff for a 12-year-old, right? Except at the time, we lived just outside of Columbus, Ohio and this camp was in the beautiful, faraway state of New Hampshire. 

The fact that there were four other kids at home besides me made transportation a real head-scratcher. Packing all seven of us up for a 13 ½ hour drive in the Family Truckster was probably not going to cut it… nor was air travel a viable option.

So my folks decided that the best way to get me up to beautiful Camp Merrowvista was to ship me off on a Greyhound bus…

… by myself,

… at the age of 12.

  • Have I mentioned that my bus trip from Columbus to Winnipesaukee, NH included a four-hour layover at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City?
  • … And that the layover was from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.?
  • … And that I was 12 years old at the time?

Of course, today, no parent in their right mind would toss their 12-year-old into that shark-infested swimming pool and expect them to swim. 

But my parents were different. They had a PLAN! And the plan was for my dad to write out notes in a pocket-sized spiral notebook that told me in EXTREME detail what was going to happen at every step of the way. In that notebook was listed every stop, how long the stop was going to be, whether I could (or should) try to get off the bus for a snack or bathroom break, when we would have to CHANGE busses (something that really scared me), right down to the names, ages, and kids’ names of each of the bus drivers.

[OK… I made that last part up.]

That little notebook was a lifesaver… probably literally, as I think back on it. And when it came to the part about the four-hour layover in New York City (again, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.), it said, “First, find the Traveler’s Aid desk. Then tell them you are traveling by yourself and ask if you can just stay close at hand until your bus leaves.”

Piece of CAKE!

The feeling I had throughout the trip was that no matter what happened, I was connected to my dad. He was right there with me, riding in my right breast pocket. As long as I was carrying that notebook, I had nothing to fear… not even that wine-and-urine-soaked guy laying on the floor of the Port Authority bus terminal.

And if you think about it, isn’t that a big part of what faith is all about? Isn’t our faith about making those vital CONNECTIONS that help us navigate the difficult passages of life? 

One might even go so far as to say that we humans are WIRED for connection.

Connection with one another…

Connection with the world around us, and…

Connection with our Heavenly Parent.

We fall into living in fear, anger, and isolation when our connections are faulty. Conversely, we tend to thrive more when those connections and solid and intact.

Surely that is one of the biggest reasons this pandemic has been so hard on our souls, as well as our minds and bodies; it has damaged or threatened the critical connections of our lives.

Today I am going to pause and think about one human connection I need to repair and then go out and think about how I will work to repair it. 

How are your connections?

Abundant blessings;

21
Dec
18

The Empty Chair

Empty Chair pictureIt is hard to miss… sitting there over on the left side of the family dining table.

The empty chair.

A silent witness to a place that will never again be filled… a testimony to the part of our story that will remain untold except in our hearts.

How is it possible to so desperately miss the predictable comebacks and cornpone comments that once came from over there?

What I wouldn’t give to be able to roll my eyes in mock anguish…

One. More. Time.

Of course, the empty chair is there every day. But it somehow looms larger this time of year… the time when traditions are unpacked and festive gatherings abound.

My eyes search that place, aching to see the face that once sat there,

Yet seeing only the emptiness.

Today I pray the empty chair might coax me into stillness,

Might encourage a silent conversation with a realm too often ignored,

Might help me see the bridge that stands between my solitary island of grief and yours,

Might somehow weave us invisibly together.

Will the day ever come – I wonder

When I am able to see and give thanks for the strange gift

Of the empty chair?

May God’s peace enfold and surround each of you who approach the Christmas season with an empty chair in your lives… whether it is for the first or the 50thtime.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”                        (Matthew 11:28, NRSV)

07
Apr
18

James? or David?

James TaylorWhat do you do when your world is out of whack?

This morning I woke up with a nasty head cold. It feels like someone snuck in during the night and stuffed my head full of cotton while I was sleeping. My thinking was so hazy I struggled to tie my shoes correctly.

PLUS… while the calendar says it is April, the weather outside clearly reads “January.” A 19-degree air temperature and frozen puddles outside greet the eye.

To add to the overall disorientation, my wife (a.k.a. confidante, companion, sounding board, lover, friend, anchor, muse, support, reality check) is 1,200 miles away enjoying some sun and sand with her daughter.

My energy is utterly sapped… and it is only 10:00 a.m.

HELP! All of my touchstones have deserted me.

I need a toehold! I need a solid piece of ground to hold onto and get my bearings.

I am sure you remember a time in your life that felt like this. Or worse.

I’m sure each of us has felt ourselves spinning a little out of control now and then.

Where do you turn when your altimeter is whirling like a top and your compass is in the middle of an epileptic seizure?

James Taylor is one option. “When you’re down… and troubled… and you need a helping hand. And nothing, whoa nothing is going right. Just close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there… to brighten up even your darkest nights.”

So I tried it! I closed my eyes… thought about and visualized sweet baby James… and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

I’m still waiting for James to make good on his promise.

Today I thank God for the mentors in my life that introduced me to ANOTHER resource… that taught me how to connect with the reliable, unchanging, solid Word of God in all circumstances.

King DavidSomehow the 18thpsalm of David seems like the right place to turn. After a long, long period of being harassed by King Saul, David finally defeated his adversary. And in the moments following his victory, David knew instantly where to turn and give the credit: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2, NRSV).

No doubt if God can deliver David from an entire army of enemies, he can surely deliver me from a head cold, freezing weather, and from missing my sweetheart.

Ahh! That’s better.

Sorry, James.




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