I find myself travelling to the far reaches of our diocese about once a month. While it can sometimes be a bit intimidating to navigate the small country roads, I find great joy in my solitary drives and the simplicity of the wholesome country I drive through.
After today's presentation at a church in Sturgeon Bay, I hopped back in the car with my eyes set on the road less taken. My destination: A little farm market near Algoma, Wisconsin. My goal: The final items for a local Christmas food basket.
After finding my items (and shhh...a few extra that will come in handy for tomorrow's celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas), I found myself taking county road after country road to make my way back to the highway. Hands bundled in mittens with Bing Crosby crooning "Adeste Fideles", I drove past family farm after family barn. A light blustering of snowflakes accompained me as I drove and thought about a simpler time.
I reminiced the days of my youth when we lived out in the country and used to take drives to see family friends. How I loved the dark drives home with warm cocoa in our bellies and Garrison Keillor on the radio. The only lights were barn spotlights and the colorful holiday lights of some of our country neighbors. When the show was over, Dad would switch on the crackling remastering of Bing Crosby on CD. I would look out the car window at the stars and find myself wondering where God was "up there". How was it that Jesus was born? How did Jesus get from Heaven to earth? How could I possibly celebrate the birth of Jesus when it was so long ago?
Then we would arrive home. Mom would open the door and the cold chill of the winter wind would come rushing in and the overhead car light would sharply interrupt the dark quiet that had taken root in my soul. My mind was drawn to the practical things of finding my shoes, helping my younger sisters to the house, and making my way to bed without a fuss.
Nowadays, I live in that place of "practical things" more often than I would like. A college degree, a marriage, a home, and two children later, I find less and less time for the wonderings, and wanderings, of life. I suppose to some knowledge and experience brings comfort and a sense of preparation for the unexpected. Much as a cherish my education and the journey of my life thus far, I find that the more I learn the less I realize I know. Frankly, the less I want to know.
Today God and I got to talk like we used to talk. I asked my Father questions and He listened patiently, tangents and all, and offered His perspective. I simply got to be...to be loved...and to love back in all wonder.
What a great gift as we approach the feast of St. Nicholas. What a great gift indeed.