My family is traveling from Boise, Idaho to Cornelius, North Carolina. After our first day on the road, my family found an evening hike (near Provo, Utah) whose pictures pretty much capture what I want to say in this post, so let’s start there.
This picture represents the undiscovered country to which we are headed, metaphorically rather than topographically. The big news is that our family is bound for North Carolina permanently. This is not a round trip journey. I have a new role I’ll be stepping into as an associate pastor, and the gift of family love is such that we all get to step together. Struck by the sacrifice of the familiar that they are making, I feel incredible gratitude for the people God has given me to walk with in this life. Brave and willing to adventure, they bring the necessary community to embrace this kind of change and challenge. What a gift!
This was our view coming back from an uphill slog where we saw glorious fall colors, dramatic rock outcroppings, and bighorn sheep! On the way up, the trail was steep. A bug flew into my eye, twice. The dog chased an e-biker that nearly ran her over. We had never hiked this trail and didn’t pause to look at a map either. So it wasn’t total bliss and ease. However – once we turned around and began to descend, we felt the perspective that comes from experience. The trail was now familiar. Conversation turned from huffs and puffs to connected thoughts and dialogue. While we knew there was a body of water behind us, we hadn’t seen it in the stunning dusky setting pictured above. To think what we might have missed had we simply stayed in our hotel room!
Here’s the deal – We could have stayed in Boise and been just fine. We had started to build a life there. We had a beautiful home there and family to boot. Friendships were taking root and they were sweet. There is and was so much to love. Admittedly, there has been dissonance as I try to articulate why we are heading to a distant land back east. These pictures communicate both the why and the wherefore. There is a spiritual beckoning to go and explore this new opportunity, though the terrain is wholly new. There is also a sense that when the Kemp family looks behind us in a few years, there will be stories to share of bugs in the eyes and close calls but also the joy of a now familiar path and beautiful shining waters as the sun goes down.
My take home is this. God gives us choices and, as my friend Dan shared with me a few weeks back, neither are wrong. The path is not as narrow as we may think. God is with us! That’s what the incarnation is all about. Our God is not relegated to place. When He goes with us, the beauty and the abundance of His partnership comes too. So I am resting in that truth. He gives the gift of family and His daily presence, whether that be on a cross country road trip, in the mountains, or in the low country.
I’ll do my best to keep you posted along the way…