Up a Gravel Hill

img_20170217_075026Last Monday I was able to fulfill a long-term dream. My family moved into a little manufactured house on 3.6 acres, so we are now living in the country. Across the street is a farm where cows wander all day. Behind us are horses that occasionally top the hill so we can see them against the horizon. It’s quiet out here. Roosters crow from the horse farm, and red-winged blackbirds call from everywhere.

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about slow living. I like the idea of simple living, but I don’t focus on the decluttering part as much as the busyness part. I like living slow. And yet, I’m conditioned to  fight that.

I can watch an hour of television and feel no guilt. It’s entertaining, and it’s culturally acceptable. It’s even acceptable to turn on Netflix and binge every now and then and watch a season of something in a weekend.

However, if I stare out my window at cows for an hour, I feel like I am wasting time. Why? It’s interesting to me. I love to see and hear what goes on outside. Why is it wasteful to watch God’s Netflix but acceptable to watch man’s? And face it, what I watch out my windows is a lot more acceptable to God than some of the antics on the screen I call entertainment. Am I the only one who struggles with this?

As I was ‘wasting time’ this week watching skies and clouds, I was thinking about heaven. I wish God had given us more hints about what heaven will be like. But I suspect we can be present without guilt. We can take time to pursue a thing without worrying about needing to do something else. I want to stand on a cliff side and watch the sea for hours. I want to stare at the stars and listen to the wind or the rain and not ever feel the tug of time, not play a mental list of better ways to use my hours, never feel guilt about choosing to feed my love of beauty or my love of creation. In fact, people I love might stand at my side and stare in awe with me, for what will that landscape look like, when sin no longer causes creation to groan, when all is as it was meant to be from the beginning, when I can work with God keeping up the perfection of his world and never fear working against it?

I realize this is a blog filled with rather discordant ideas and thoughts, but that’s where I am this week. I left the home where I raised my children. Only one child moved with me. We’re not around the corner from the grocery store. I feel loss as well as gain, wonder as well as emptiness. There are a lot of emotions to process, because we all know a move has little to do with geography and a lot to do with memories and heart and people. And although we didn’t move far, only thirty miles, in the world of people that’s a long way. Things aren’t what they were a week ago. And it remains to be seen what our new life will look like.

I am excited about this new step on the path. But I also know location doesn’t change the deep things. I hope to see God here on the hillside, but my sin is still my sin. My struggles are still my struggles. I’ve added images of beauty and awe, but I am still me. And I knew that would be the case, but sometimes I wish it was as easy to change the inner self as it was to change geography.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling for this post. Next time I’ll try to be more organized. My physical life will be more organized as I work through boxes. The emotions should be calmer as I work through the new distances from my adult children and my friends. I might even post a blog entry with a specific point. But until then, if you find yourself on a meandering path, feel free to share that with me. I get to write to you all the time, and I’d love comments or emails with your stories, too. Everyone’s path includes stories worth telling, ideas worth pondering, insights worth sharing. Feel free to share yours. Here in the country I have time and space to hear and ponder with you.

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3 thoughts on “Up a Gravel Hill

  1. I had to read this to Mickey as well. His love for the outdoors continues to grow. As he invests more and more time and interest in fly fishing in his retirement, your words help me to see things in a better light. These efforts are worthwhile, not to be “graded” on the scale of productivity, that I slip into applying. 😉 I love your observation: “Why is it wasteful to watch God’s Netflix but acceptable to watch man’s? And face it, what I watch out my windows is a lot more acceptable to God than some of the antics on the screen I call entertainment. ”

    Looking forward to being with you on Thursday and seeing your new home that you have longed for over years. MB

    On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 8:20 AM, Sojourn of the Scribe wrote:

    > sojournofthescribe posted: “Last Monday I was able to fulfill a long-term > dream. My family moved into a little manufactured house on 3.6 acres, so we > are now living in the country. Across the street is a farm where cows > wander all day. Behind us are horses that occasionally top the ” >

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  2. Thank you, Jill, for the reminder that it is not a waste of time to watch “God’s Netflix”. It is so easy to feel like you are wasting time when actually we are doing something that pleases God. We are stopping to appreciate and thank Him for His wonderful creation. Now I am going to watch and enjoy the outdoors without any guilt. 🙂

    I am happy for you and your family that you are in your dream home! 🙂

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    • I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. In watching His world, we can’t help but be thankful. It puts a lot of things into perspective to watch birds and stars and know God has the last word about everything here on this amazing planet. Thankfulness is almost inevitable when we see it right. Thanks for that extra insight!!

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