Monday, July 18, 2016

Slow Down!

Cathy and I just completed a month-long vacation. We traveled to the mountains of Arizona, the mountains and valleys of New Mexico and the rain-washed hills of northeast Kansas.  We saw family, reconnected with people we love, ate too much and endured “hotter-than-normal” weather pretty much everywhere we went.  I got attacked by a man-eating tick, but that’s another story.

The purpose of our trip was to unplug, take long naps and focus on anything other than work. We were mostly successful. Before we left, someone told me that it takes three weeks for most people to fully disconnect from the regular flow of their work, whatever that work may be. It that’s true (our trip seemed to verify it), it means that Cathy and I have only really disengaged from our church leadership lives twice in the thirty years we have been at Stone Ridge.

Maybe it’s the whole three-week thing that opened me up for an aha moment just a few days before we traveled home. The setting was a quick trip up to the mountains around Taos, New Mexico. My brother and some of his family led the way with their travel trailer and we all spent the night together. After our arrival, we took a walking tour of the Taos Plaza, then drove out to the bridge that crosses the Rio Grande Gorge. We were greeted by others with word of some activity below the bridge, then delighted to see...
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…six Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep emerge from below the bridge.

The next morning, my brother Jimmie and I got up and drove up to the Taos Ski Area, from which we departed on a two-mile hike up to Williams Lake. The 1400-foot gain in elevation was challenging, but the majesty of our arrival was worth every step!
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A few hours later, we were on our way back to the Albuquerque area, following my brother’s pickup and trailer, just as we had done the day before. It was that trip, slowly winding through some of New Mexico’s magnificent and varied scenery, that caught me off guard. You see, for most of my life, a slow-moving truck and trailer have been nothing more than an obstacle to get past. Much tension has been added to many of our trips because I couldn’t bother to be slowed down by someone else on a two-lane highway.  For two days, the RV in front of us was nothing more than a guide on the way home. My only goal was to follow it at a safe distance and not worry as others had to pass us every few miles.

Arriving back at Jimmie and Melody’s mountain home, I realized how relaxed I was and talked to Cathy about it. A quick run into town a few hours later, with a rush around the curves along the way, convinced us both how much more we enjoyed ourselves when we simply slowed down.
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It was with a broken heart that the thought hit me, “I have been in a hurry most of my life and it has filled me with tension. How much more could I enjoy life if every journey was like that trip to Taos?"

Throughout this summer, Stone Ridge Church has been looking at the lives of Elijah and Elisha, two Old Testament prophets. “Don’t Blink!” has been a fun and challenging theme. Maybe we could all see more and better enjoy the ride if we slowed down a bit. Maybe we would find that we are noticing much more of the beauty and majesty of God along the way. That’s sure my goal! I hope you can slow down enough to join us for one of our weekend services at Stone Ridge this week!

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