From shooting skeet to building fires to riding four wheelers, from driving deer to flying in a two-seater airplane to hunting raccoons, from sleeping in 44 degrees to watching the sun rise and set over the water – the adventure never ended and sparked in me an adventurous spirit that had been lost (or, more accurately, hidden away) in the natural stress and strain of everyday life.
This weekend, at a coastal South Carolina farm with a group of best and new friends, I reflected on my first couple years out of college. In the face of uncertainty and in the aftermath of long hours of sometimes passionless work, my heart is deceived by my flesh.
My flesh longs for predictable and sure. I begin craving my couch and TV and sheltering my heart from any disrupting forces. It’s like my soul moved to suburbia and packed in attic boxes the parts of myself that were a threat to my new way of living, best described as surviving or compromising. I believe those boxes are labelled, “Freedom to Be” and “Unabated Joy.”
I am not sure when it happened—perhaps somewhere between the sip of world-renowned whiskey and the frozen feeling in my toes—but this weekend I remembered the joy and freedom that, when given the right conditions, grows wild and strong in me. Boxes and walls and financial prudence and career trajectories can’t hold them. They can only be described in unsophisticated metaphors: a dusted clay, an airplane buzz, a big fire slowly catching but burning still, a broken bottle that signifies right aim.
But how to capture it? How to keep it? Back on my couch. Firing up the old laptop for another day of work. When my people are scattered and my location is decidedly un-picturesque and the expectations pile back on, how do I sustain the fire? How do I move these experiences from revelation to inspired routine?
Truthfully, I’m not sure. I can’t stay at Coosaw. I can’t keep my friends next to me. We have a Great Commission.
So for now, I hold tight to the memories and pray fervently that the Lord would keep my heart open—in spite of the discontentment and pride and fear—to the still small voice that reminds me, “I am the Lord your God, who created this world and called it very good. I am not done working in you, so be strong and courageous in my love. I am with you.” (Genesis 1:31; Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 43:1-4; Philippians 1:6)
Dedicated in love to my friends.