[Thoughts while at Montreat's Wee Kirk Conference this week]
Spending several days in Presbyterian Heaven (Montreat) was an introvert's dream come true. Not only was it a beautiful time in a very Thin placee, but I found plenty of space to get away from everything and be quiet. Certainly we had been warned, but I suppose DH and I were a little disappointed to discover that not only did we not have cell phone coverage, but that the Wi-fi was pretty limited. It bothered him more than it did me that there was no TV in our room, but it added to a picture of being completely unplugged. Of course, since I'm an ipad-toting sort, I actually had 3G, which made me feel better as we arrived. Who could be completely unplugged, after all?
Turns out I could. I barely checked my email (I think I checked it once or twice in four days). I didn't look at facebook. Voicemail wasn't really an option.
It was holy quiet. And I didn't miss it at all.
I heard the things that I've been too busy to hear in recent days: the gentle whisper of God as the windchimes twinkled, the quiet flowing of streams, the voices of little bugs and animals singing the Living God's praises. I took time to notice things I might have over looked: flowers that were ordered just so, the face of Jesus staring back at me from many other faces, the mist that couldn't quite turn loose its grasp on our world. I felt things that have seemed cut off to me for a while: a sense of pure shalom, worship with my whole body, the poetry at work in the body of Christ.
Oh I was unplugged alright. But I've never felt more connected.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.