Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Firm Focus

I'm not in the loge at the moment and the change of scenery is causing me to concentrate more in order to focus. Although it's a major stretching process, I actually appreciate the opportunity to reach beyond the every day view of life and try to grasp the messages the Father is displaying in the world around me.

We enjoyed a smooth trip across the ocean and a record-breaking 10 minutes clearing passport control and customs. We ended up having to wait a few minutes for our wonderful son-in-the-Lord to arrive at the airport curb - unheard of. He delivered a warm welcome that carried us through our initial retro-steps into the American culture.

Some might say six months in another culture is child's play. We've experienced longer and shorter stays and can attest to the fact that half a year is enough to cause marked changes to appear. As we waited at the airport we were struck by the conversations around us - we could understand them. After pretty much tuning them out since we couldn't decipher the messages, we were suddenly inundated with language. It was a pleasant surprise even as it caused our auditory circuits to perk up and threaten to overload.

In the short time we waited at the airport our senses were assailed with surrounding messages - blaring TV news, screaming headlines, insistent discussions. It was a bit difficult for us to communicate with each other amidst the visual and auditory onslaught. And this was our own culture!

The first few days of our time in the USA were spent with our grandchildren. (Okay, with their parents too.) It was a delightful time of making our love for them more tangible. It seems our weekly visits by skype needed a bit of bolstering with hugs and presents, book reading and game playing. However, the activity that may have grabbed my attention the most may be driving a car.

Curt drove the first time, but my turn came next. Hah, if you think it's like riding a bike, you're wrong. Well, partially wrong. Yes, I could direct the car to go where I wanted it to go. That was easy enough. The problem came when I realized that I was behaving more like a passenger on public transportation than an attentive driver. Six months of keeping my mind on where I was going and the setting around me with my eye on charts and signs and scenery had turned me into a relatively passive traveler. It also threatened to make me a danger on the road.

The second time I drove the car I felt as if I were settling back into the proper defensive attitude that a safe driver ought to maintain. As I sensed myself returning to my earlier responsible habits, I also noticed something I found quite interesting. The more I drove the car (stepped in when I wanted to go somewhere, turned the key to bring the equipment to life, steered the vehicle where I wanted to go, . . .) the more I sensed an increase of well-being. It wasn't just the feeling of doing a good job. The best I can articulate the sensation is to say that I felt as if I were taking over the controls of my life.

I've pondered the feelings each time I've sat behind the wheel. It's still there and perhaps becoming more entrenched. I drove about eight hours today and we're now more than 450 miles and four states away from where we began. We're where we wanted to be when we wanted to be here. There's a real sense of accomplishment and mastery that comes with that performance. I'm fairly attuned to it at the moment, but I wonder how much it consumed me 'before'.

Another aspect I'm noticing on returning from a lengthy sojourn in Europe is the beauty of this country. Waterfronts and forests, mountains and valleys all bespeak the glory of their Creator. The majesty and splendor almost take my breath away. To think that God chose to launch my life within these marvel-filled borders is a mercy to contemplate. In spite of the great and multiple stresses of the last few weeks, the display of the Lord's power is a monumental reminder of His presence. I find my heart at peace.

All at once I realize that I have no idea what's in store for me - not tomorrow, nor next week, next month or next year. Plans for our days here that we thought were firmly in place have been fading away like cascading whispers. There doesn't seem to be anything stable in what I see around me. The Spirit turns my mind and I return to the only secure point of reference I have ever known, God's Word. That is where I want and need to fix my focus. The Word is what refines my view that I may see God's hand and follow where He leads. Hallelujah!

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.   Psalm 119:18