I am sitting on the deck of my cabin as I work with the wonders of modern technology, a laptop computer. However, today, like most days at the cabin, this one isn’t connected to the outside world, unless you consider it is truly outside in the world! But life in this part of South Dakota is currently sans internet access, unless I want to run the risk of paying Verizon a huge bill for over using my data plan! Not my idea of a good time. So this blog will have to wait, like several other items of business, until we make our way into Custer, visit the County Library, with an incredibly helpful staff, and comfortable places to sit, and join you in the wonders of the World Wide Web! For now, I am content to listen to the wind rustle in the trees, hearing the birds chirping and waiting for the sun to get low enough so we can sit on the West Deck to monitor the meadow for passing deer!
What do we do all day without the interruption of the telemarketers, or the instant temptation of the sound of emails coming in, or the latest and greatest installment of America’s Got Talent! Well, we sit back, watch the sunset, wait for the stars to come out, and enjoy the evening. Since we moved we have been busy, well moving in! So yesterday, even though I had a list of things to do, Deb suggested a hike! So we did. Hiked about 4 miles, watched the deer, most of them saw us first, but a nice little 3 point buck didn’t have a clue we were spying on him.
So the days go! What we are finding is a new way of life not so driven by clocks as by the time of the day. I can’t remember the last time we ate our noon meal at 12. Generally it gets to be about 1 or so and we go, hey, we haven’t eaten. So we do. The same with supper, it is going on 7:00 right now and the steaks are just on the grill, but then again, I don’t have a meeting to go to. No television to tune in, sure there is a book or two that are calling, but they can wait. We also have time to listen, to listen to the sound of the wind, to hear a mysterious night bird that we have yet to identify, so if you are good with bird calls, come on out. This shy bird never sings before dusk, and generally almost total dark. So in addition to only hearing him faintly (too faintly to record I might add) he is impossible to spot in the night sky! So we have music and mystery! What more could you want out of life.
What are the disadvantages of life in the not so fast lane you wonder? Well Wal-Mart is 45 minutes away. Mennards closer to 50 minutes. But we have heard Wal-Mart will ship things, something we haven’t gotten around to yet (too many hikes and moving chores). Internet? Forget it! TV? How much do you want to pay for satellite? Traffic? There is an occasional vehicle that goes by, but not too many, so traffic even on the worst days is a couple of 4-Wheelers or some Side-By-Sides. I suppose, if you forgot something for the meal you are cooking, a quick run into the local grocery is kind of out of the question, even a quick run to town takes me almost 45 minutes.
What do we gain? Peace and perspective. The wilderness as I have said before has an effect and affect that you cannot find in the “civilized” part of the world. Sure parks and open spaces help, but to fully experience this you need a wilderness “immersion”. We have already noticed that something happens to people who come out here. They slow down, they reflect more deeply, and find themselves closer to God than they have for some time. They are also able to ask questions that have been pushed aside when living life day to day. Out here there is an invitation to go deeper, to slow down and ask “God what are you inviting me to do?” “Or better, God what are you inviting me to be?” You see in the fast lane world most people inhabit, we are valued by what we do, or what we produce. God has a different measure, who we are. So out here in the land of the not so fast lane, there is time to consider what is it that God is calling me to be.
Maybe it has been a while since you pushed that pause button on life to ask some pertinent questions of God such as God who am I called to be? God what is the plan for the next phase of my life? You see, even though this ministry seems tailor made for Deb and I, God did not just lay it out to us 20 years ago in a road map. No, his plan is a lot like the call of Abraham, follow me and I will show you where to go. So over hill and dale, through detours that were painful and events that were pleasurable, God has led us here. If you are wondering what it is that God might have in store for you, maybe you need to come spend a little time in the slow lane. You see my promise to you as you plan to be with us, is at least 2 hours of my time every day. In practice, let’s just say I am not keeping a clock! If you chose to backpack with us, well, we have even more time to listen to God and his still small voice of wonder.
For now, I can see the shadows creeping across the meadow signaling that time is getting near to “monitor the meadow”. To listen for my elusive friend who sings only when we cannot see, and to give thanks to the God who allows me to share in this part of his creation.