Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shaped by Beauty and Faith

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

Yesterday was about wrapping up the conference, good visits with friends, and birthday shopping for Rebekah. Birthdays are always fun to prepare for when you really love someone, and being in the North Carolina mountains certainly makes it easier to find gifts I know will work. The key after several decades of gift-giving is to remain creative and motivated, and to enjoy the process; if I'm excited about Rebekah's birthday, it's a safe bet that she will be too.

But I've got to say it's hard to leave these mountains. It's a beautiful world all over, but there is something extra compelling about the deep layers of tree and hill that recede endlessly into the distance. Then the daylilys and wildflowers are in full bloom along every roadside, a riot of color and creative expression.

So I took a short detour onto the Blue-Ridge Parkway, just for a mile or so... and it was all I could do to make myself turn around again and head into Black Mountain, when a possible hike up Mount Mitchell was so close, around just a few more turns in the road.

But I've been travelling, off and on, for over a month now. I've slept just four nights in our own home since June 15; ten different beds so far; I haven't been to church at First Brandon for almost five weeks; there's a ton of work I need to attend to; we all need to reestablish some sense of routine.

But it's going to be a routine informed and shaped by all the beauty and places and people and stories and faith we've encountered along the way. That's the point of enrichment: it gives us more to share, more depth to draw from, more to be thankful for, and more of God's dynamic creation to inspire and direct us.

I feel so privileged and so blessed to have had this opportunity. I pray that my life does honor to all we have seen and all we have heard.

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