Places of Peace

Have you ever experienced a tangible spiritual peace – one you’re intuitively sure comes from the Creator – that seems to be imparted simply by physically being in a certain physical place? …as if you could simply walk into it like walking out your back door into a downpour on a miserably hot day, drinking the rain as it soaks your clothes and saturates your skin?

In my experience, Kent and Karen S.’s home intimates spiritual calm and stillness as a gently, tenderly offered gift – more like a personal-worth-affirming warm bath to a shivering tramp than an overpowering rainstorm. The peace of God there is easily received by the willing and, at least at first, easily avoided by the fearful; it’s the kind of strong, patient peace that is willing to wait faithfully and graciously. A morning at the Parish Hermitage, at least for me, is more like the rainstorm. The peace is thick, almost overpowering — maybe you could avoid it if you got back in car and took off, but the more you surrender to it, the more you want to. The deeper it sinks in past your skin the deeper you want to open up and give yourself to it. The world seems more real, nature more intriguing, personal interaction more genuine and unguarded.

These are just two of many ways God is providing for us in abundance during this jobless, homeless, migratory season of our lives.

8 years of college but still learning the hard way

Today I (Joel) received a distinctly West Texas education. You’d think after 8 years in college I’d know how to answer this question:

“What should you do when it’s 40 degrees C outside, you’re driving your ’77 Nova at 45mph with the windows down because it’s short trip and the a/c takes a while to kick in, and you see (and smell) a large hairy carcass formerly belonging to a now-unindentifiable animal dead-centre in your lane 10 meters ahead? It has not yet been flattened. Should you:

a) swerve around it, like all the drivers behind you who know better

b) speed up and try to flatten it, just for kicks

c) try to straddle it, driving directly over it so that (in theory) your wheels pass by safely on either side, even though the suspension on your car gave out years ago and you already ride mere inches above the ground?”

I opted for “c”, and the results were… instantaneous. Even if my aim wasn’t off and I hadn’t nailed it with the driverside tire, we ride so low that it would probably have got hooked on the underside anyway. We had to smell that thing all the way to our small group meeting and back. People like my younger sisters already think our car is nasty – I’m afraid I can’t really argue with them anymore, at least until that stuff cooks off in the Texas heat.