And, here I sit, my last day of retreat in a hermitage in the Great Smokey Mountains, looking out onto the vale and the peak before me, covered with lovely green trees. And, where next? What is the next border to cross, both outwardly and inwardly?
The journey never ends, keeps moving, and will not listen to us yelling "Stop!." And, while I respect persons who find stability in staying in one place, living with one people, that has not been my life. When a young preacher boy, one of my favorite scriptures was of Abram and Sarai being called to leave the land of their upbringing, family, and kin, to, as Yahweh their god said "a place I will show to you." Maybe my enjoyment of encouraging others through this scripture was sort of a witness, a presaging, to the life I was being called to. So, Abram and Sarai became the start of what came to be called the Hebrew people, later the Jews, and "Hebrew" means "border crosser." In the process they were transformed, as crossing borders has a tendency to do, and their god renamed them Abraham and Sarah.
See, some of us are called to keep moving, place to place, for some reason. If a divine call, that is not our choice, Life decides that for us. Abram did not wake up one morning, saying, "Hey, honey! let's go over to Canaan, to live among all those strangers and strange gods and goddesses. That sounds like a fun adventure!" I never awakened, as a boy reared and raised in the deep South, United States ~ a boy planning to graduate from high school, not go to college, but start serving as pastor in some nearby little Baptist church ~ thinking, "You know, I think I'll move to Florida, and Louisiana, and Mississippi, and Maine". I did not even know where Maine is on a map. The farthest I had been, was a brief trip to Tennessee.
And, yes, the adventure is sometimes the call to remain where one is, and grow roots deeply into the soil of one place with one people. But, regardless, moving on or staying put, we all are border crossers, for Life is always moving on. And, in the moving, we are changed, for as the way changes, we change with it, and in ways we never dreamed, thankfully.
Following is a poem, I wrote it this morning. Reading it inspired the above reflections.