I live in a sprawling Texas suburb, not unlike many Texas suburbs. What was once vast farmland now boasts row after row after row of rooftops, which we call “Master Planned Communities.” We also have shopping centers and restaurants and top-rated schools and playgrounds and amenities. We have megachurches and mega-Megachurches of every denomination and no denomination. Our family, like many others, moved to this area so our kids could receive an top-notch education while also enjoying the convenience and proximity to culture and opportunities. It’s a nice place.
And while I don’t take for granted the privilege this community affords, my soul aches for simplicity and quiet and contemplation, which isn’t easy to find while rushing between schools and activities and Chick-Fil-A.
A couple of years ago, I discovered a series of horse trails tucked behind our well-appointed community center. These dirt paths wind through tall trees and open meadows, carved from earth and leaves and thick gnarled roots. Whenever I can, I walk these trails—in the summer, when the trees are thick with green and the sunlight seeps through the limbs onto the dirt; in the fall, when the branches release their brown and yellow leaves and death litters the path; in the winter, when the sky turns gray and everything sleeps, waiting for rebirth; in the spring, when the world fragrantly returns to life and everything is new.
Within this space, my soul rests from the chaos of my busy suburban life, and truth and goodness and peace make their home.
Within this space, over the last several years, I have discovered healing and peace and the simplicity I have so deeply craved.
Within this space, within the metaphors of seasons and water and wind and earth, Truth revealed itself to me, teaching me gentle lessons about the prisons of fear and the freedom of Love and the fullness of Life.
Within this space, I realized we are born into and surrounded by Love, and that somewhere along the way, we stop believing we are loved, and we become afraid. Paralyzed with fear, we act unlovingly. Only when we return to that place of Love can we be free from fear and free to live as we were created.
This is the journey I wish to share with you over the next week or so. I must warn you, it might sound a little wwwwooooooOOOOOOOOooooo esoteric hippy flower power at times—especially if you, like me, cut your teeth on a conservative, dualistic black/white, right/wrong, body/spirit kind of ideology—but please stick with me, create space to listen and consider, and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. I have a lot of words, so I decided to create a series of posts we can more easily and thoroughly digest together.
- In the beginning…
- The prison of fear
- The radiance of Love
- Expecto Patronum: Perfect Love casts out all fear
- Remembering: a return to the beginning
I’m not a theologian, and while I have read about and contemplated these ideas quite a bit during the past several years, there is still so much I don’t understand. I’m still learning and processing, and perhaps forming these thoughts into words will help me understand more. I hope you’ll lace up your running shoes and join me on this walk through the woods. May we discover together how deeply we are loved and how fully and courageously we are meant to live.