There’s plenty of time for pondering and ruminating on a 6,800-mile road trip. So I do.
We stay on the back roads when we travel. Backroads offer an older version of life; life the way it was before Big Box gobbled up Mom n’ Pop; when time was more a slow waltz than an ER code blue.
For three weeks I have been viewing some absurdly spectacular views, iconic cities, sprawling farmland, popular attractions, historic battlegrounds, famous monuments and chatting with interesting people.
There are thousands upon thousands of decomposing homes, farms and businesses dotting the prairies and planes of this nation, peppering the backwoods and hillsides of this land where dreams are made of. As we pass I picture them in their robust years—when a dream, some ambition and a lot of hard work hit the right note and made a mark.
Little towns like Kinnear, Wyoming–population 40—appear out of nowhere and I wonder: How do they do life here?
How do we do life anywhere?
Life lived in 1730 and life lived in 2015 have many things in common. People then, as people now, whether carving out a nation or carving out a name for themselves, are prone to fixing our eyes and placing our hearts on the temporary right now.
While we are building and accumulating and striving and feuding we forget that the end result will be, at best, a study in decomposition. As is evident in cemetery after cemetery across this land, time will not only claim our lives and erode our kingdoms; it will eat away the name and epitaph of the very stone that marked our existence.
As Psalms says, “Even the memory of them will vanish.”
I get it. We have to occupy, right? We can’t just sit on our haunches and wait for our heavenly home and eternal gloriousness. God placed within us dreams and callings; He made us in his image as creators and called us to inhabit.
Traveling reminds me that life really is a sojourn in temporariness. Those of us who journey in Christ are reminded that we actually do just have this 1 day and that the big picture is much grander than we imagine. Cloistered in our castles and kingdoms, striving to make our mark in this world we can easily forget that our souls were made for the world to come.
At nearly 10,000 feet a road winds toward the Grand Tetons. The sun illuminates the eastern face of these stone mountains. We stop at the Continental Divide and I am reminded of the brave pioneers who pushed through this way on unpaved trails in an untamed wilderness. They pressed toward a dream against elements and limits, they lost lives and limbs because in them was what is in us. We are longing for a place our hearts call home.
But home is not here. Wherever it is you call home, it’s just a meager sampling of what we were created for–a citizenship and kingdom not made with hands, a treasure this world can’t measure, where our identity is not contained in skin.
This 22-day road trip has been full of reminders about dwellings. Living in 220 square feet reminds me that I don’t need much and the much I receive isn’t measured or marked by worldly standards. My home is in Him–wholly and fully in Him. The only mark that truly matters is the mark on his palms—where he has the whole of creation held until that day we shake off the dust of this life, this planet, this universe and we see Him face to face.
Let’s live every second of our lives with every cell of our being. Let’s dream. And build. And discover. Let’s push the envelope. Let’s redefine normal. Let’s add words to the dictionary. Let’s lay down new roads and raise the bar for the next generation. Let’s write our name in granite. Let’s leave a legacy of grace.
He is our dwelling place, our only true home.
I want to fill my lungs with the atmosphere of His presence and leave my mark written with indelible grace.