I did something last week that I haven't done, but SHOULD have done a long time ago. I spontaneously took a walk in my little town, while my daughter Rye played volleyball at the local community center.
I don't know why I haven't done it before.... I really don't. People come from all over to shop on our historic Main Street. Hoping to catch a glimpse, or get a picture of the train crawling through the middle of our town, they come. Cameras in hand. Artists too, bringing their easels and sketch pads and dotting our small town with their creative presence, capturing & preserving it's character for future generations.
While I, who have lived here for 14 years, have missed much of it's hidden treasure.
So I took a walk. A long, slow walk. I opened my ears. And my eyes. I tried to breathe in just a bit of the fragrance of this place. Feel it's heartbeat from a different vantage point. And appreciate it's beauty, uniquely all it's own.
I started by crossing over and walking on the other side of the railroad tracks~ :)
I thought about the fact that living life more purposefully and intentionally requires determination. I must slow down and pull back the surface veneer of life...........MY life. Dig deeper. To where the treasure really is.
Exploring more requires that I push against the comfortable and familiar borders of my life's landscape. For I know there is MORE.
I like to search for the doorways, the portals if you will, that God places before me daily. They invite me to explore and penetrate the realm of His Spirit, which gives birth to what our senses can only experience in time and space. As beautiful and glorious as that is, there is still more. But oftentimes, I get caught up, trapped, in the doing of the daily tasks and chores and comings and goings, and I brush past the portals that beckon me to go beyond.
Everywhere these portals surround us. They are in God's vast creation, through out nature. They are in the hearts, lives, faces and voices of people I know. Some constant and familiar, others momentary and fleeting. If I pause long enough, His Spirit allows me to really SEE. Beyond the veil of human flesh and emotion, beyond actions and words and the flurry of stuff we occupy ourselves with.......to the *heart* beneath.
When the invitation comes, it is the rarest of opportunities.
Plumbing the depths of my own heart is challenging enough, but another's? Or a what about a town's heartbeat? Is there even such a thing??
And then of course, there is GOD'S. His Heartbeat keeps the Universe alive and pulsating......upholding ALL things by the power of His Word. His word, that proceeds from His Heart. Alive, active, sharper than any two edged sword, and it pierces to cut, slice, separate, and HEAL. Severing that which suffocates and destroys from the treasure He desires to unchain and release from it's dungeon deep within the darkened corners of the human heart.
He does this in LOVE.
Even when we don't understand. Even when it hurts. He works, and He watches, and He waits for us to recognize Him. Standing at the doorway, knocking......
My walk somehow became a metaphor for this new season in my life, unbeknownst to me~ I walked down side streets, alleys, along railroad tracks and sidewalks lined with picket fences. Hungry to explore new territory, unknown places, sights, sounds and smells..........I peered into yards adorned with tenderly planted flowers, and vegetable gardens already beginning to yield fruit. I passed grills and lounge chairs, porch swings and dog houses, old trucks and tires and shiny new mailboxes.....scooters and mudpuddles, bicycles and abandoned shoes. I came across a front porch filled with old furniture, all covered with tattered tarp and dirty towels, waiting for someone to rescue & restore it to it's original purpose and beauty.
People are like that too.
As I nudged along the borders of their existence, I tried to imagine who the people were, and what their lives were like. Did I pass them in the grocery store, had we seen one another at the park or at the local pizza parlor? I'm sure I didn't know most of them at all..........but God knows.
I was struck by how small I am, and how little I know. And how much there IS to discover. And I felt a bit more alive~
God has placed along the path of each life, yours and mine, doorways. Portals to His hidden treasure. These are His signs, gifts scattered thoughtfully, intentionally pointing the way to His Heart.
Sometimes the gifts come wrapped in pain, or heartache. Disappointment or sorrow. Sometimes the gift comes in unexpected surprise of joy or provision, new opportunity or fresh hope and inspiration. New relationships, or a second chance.
These everyday portals to God's Heart continue to beckon us, waiting patiently for us to slow down and recognize that they've been there all along.
Not one of them is locked!
I, for one, am learning to enter in more and more by His grace~