The Dancing Puritan

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strange Familiarity

From time-to-time I travel alone. Occasionally I am in a place that is very familiar. It is a place rich in tradition and filled with memories. The only thing is that those memories have to do with the people that I love most. When I am in those familiar places, without those people, it is a strange familiarity.

Such is the case right now. I am sitting in a chair in a lovely room. The floors are hardwood, the ceiling is high and rustic, the walls are brick, and various works of art hang on them. In fact, just over the fireplace (where a fake fire makes noise and puts off light) is a painting of an old lady, book in hand, and staring off into the distance. She seems sad. Not many days ago my family was in this very room. Abigail (our almost two-year-old) was pulling on my hand saying, "Come daddy, come." She is a young explorer. Unlike the lady in the painting, we were not sad.

This morning I jogged streets that our family has walked on a hundred times. I passed a field that we have played on, once a year, for almost 20 years. The old water pump on the corner of the field drips water, but there are no children to receive it's offering.
The breakfast room, that has often been livened up by our family, seemed very quite this morning. Thankfully no one was sitting at our table (at least not when I had breakfast). I sat at a small table in the corner and read Brothers, We are Not Professionals by John Piper. It is a book for Pastors and an eye-opening reminder that the ministry is not for folks who long for esteem but for people who follow a crucified Savior.

When I got to my room yesterday the bed was made up nicely. On the pillow were two pieces of candy labeled Ferrero Rocher. Just a few days ago I noticed my wife unwrapping a Ferrero Rocher and enjoying it very much. Therefore, I dared not unwrap the candy. I value my life too much for that. I will take them home to Lori. Will she see them as a gift from a loving husband?

We have visited this city for a lot of years. Most of those years we have stayed at this Inn. It is a lovely refuge. One of my favorite places is the patio. The floor is brick with holes cut out in various places so that trees can grow.  Leaves of various colors decorate the surroundings. There is a stillness out there and a strange familiarity.

I am thankful to be here. I wish that I could stay here for a week or so, just to think, pray, read, and recalibrate my mind and heart. But I have to leave in a couple of hours and travel to the next town. The next place does not have the strange familiarity of this town.  Yes, I am glad to be here. Yet it is strange. Yes I am enjoying this familiar place. Yes, I could stay here alone for a week. Something is missing though. Or, I should say, several some one's are missing. This is a sacred place. It is a place that our children have grown to love. I miss their voices. I miss their laughter. I miss holding Lori's hand as we walk down the street together. Right now everything is just strangely familiar.

Just two week's ago we were all here.