"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
~ Joshua 1: 9b
Years ago I traveled home to Southern Indiana where I grew up to see if I might find my "inner child," somewhere among the hills and hollers near the Morgan Monroe State Forest where I spent a large part of my childhood. It's funny how I could remember many of the country roads, and even where log trails either existed or once were. I couldn't seem to find what I was looking for.
I had discovered that over the years I had aged, and many of the dreams that I had as a youth had grown old like many of the trees that now provided shade for me as I walked.
After getting permission from the current owners of our old farm, I managed to climb the hillside to where the "pond" was located. It was overgrown with cat tails along the edge where as children we would spend many a summer day swimming and floating on inner tubes. I sat on the water's edge, realizing the view, like myself, had changed. I can't say that I was sad that the view had changed so much, I guess I was hoping to get a glimpse of what I had journeyed to find, appearing just beyond the next hill.
As I made my way back down the hill, I noticed an old school bell on a tall pole with a rope. I learned that the family that lived there now used it to call their children in at night. The sound would echo down through the holler. I wondered if I rang the bell what might appear?
I thanked the family, and went on my way. The creek that we referred to as the "crick," still managed to make it's way through the holler, and I managed to discover one more memory of playing in the sun, arranging rocks, and attempting to control the flow, only to realize that I really could not change it's path. I had become the creek, traveling a path that was my own, and I was making my way home.
Going home is literally a lifelong journey. The home of my childhood was but a chapter. I suppose there will always be parts of ourselves that wander off our path, sometimes going to places where we do not belong, or even worse, getting lost.
I have learned that finding our way home is about more than having a map. It's about not becoming discouraged, and realizing that Jesus walks with us and speaks to us on the road. Like the two travelers on their way to Emmaus, they did not recognize Jesus walking with them until later in the day when they stopped and broke bread with him.
Jesus walks with us and speaks to us on our path each day. When we allow ourselves to listen carefully, we may discover that we are already home while on our journey.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.