Home: A Covered Wagon
A common metaphor for life is that of a journey. We have titled these next 40 days as A Journey Home. I think it is a good analogy to life. Life has a beginning and an end and everything in between is movement in a direction.
The Conestoga “Covered” Wagon was a temporary home for the early pioneers as they traveled west. They would live in it for 6-12 months on the trail from St Louis, the gateway to the west to where ever they chose to end their quest be that Colorado, Wyoming or all the way to California. Once they reached their destination they built a more permanent structure on their homestead.
Maybe we should consider all of life as an adventure, a journey and that our best identity is one of pioneers. Maybe it would be a good thing if our “home” had wheels.
We will traverse this life through many seasons. Along the way we will take on many roles. The one constant in our life may simply be change. Recognizing and owning this change may be helpful on many levels.
As we move through this life, some days are easy, some are not. There are days where it is uphill, hazardous and exhausting. Sometimes it is a breeze. Some days we will make great strides, some days just a step or two. Some days we encounter significant loss, others great discovery. Life is movement and motion. Think of the sea. There are days where the waves are fierce and huge. Other times when the sea can seem like glass. I say “seem” because in reality there is always a tide, a current we may not see it but if we step into the water we can feel it.
The issue is moving forward as best we can, to make progress toward a goal. Places like Canterbury exist as a resting point along the way; a place to gather ourselves for the next step, stock up on needed provisions, catch our breath. We don’t stop but we slow down and look around us to capture the beauty in this moment. In many ways it is not about the destination or the goal but what happens along the way.
What does it mean to be prosperous? Is it lots of money or things? Having a big house, a good job? These are the cultural definitions we live with today. The Hebrews defined prosperity in “having a good journey”. The caravans or merchants were thought to be prosperous if they had a safe passage. Maybe we need to redefine prosperity in this manner.
How can you slow down and enjoy the ride? …take in the scenery? If you will your life will be richer and you’ll get through this life being truly prosperous.
Deacon Martha Toney:
“Canterbury Retreat Center offers a beautiful sacred space where as Wayne Oates, a renowned pastoral counselor and psychiatrist, describes as a place where the soul can be nurtured and the ‘noisy’ heart can be quieted.
Oates warns us of the danger of losing perspective on life, especially those of us who minister to others on a daily basis. And ministry sometimes extends itself to all of us who are care-taking within our own families and friends. The need of sacred space is an act of responsibility to anticipate the stresses we face, and then taking necessary action to provide for ourselves the privacy we need for refreshment. No one else will or can do it for us.
Like Jesus, if we are to become all God envisions for us, and if we are always on the way to ‘becoming’ the person God would have us be, we must have the courage to free ourselves from the crowd, just as Jesus did in His own ministry. How good those words sound: ‘I am free.’ We can be free at Canterbury because, first, we know that God is with us all the time, and second in a practical way, at the Center we can be comforted by the fact that while we are totally alone, we are still close enough to a wonderful community who will be there for us should we for any reason need assistance. Canterbury Retreat Center provides a place where Whittier’s prayer may be answered:
Drop thy still dues of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.”
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