Over the years I have spent many a day reading with my children. There is a series of books titled, “Can You See What I See?” They are great books for reading and conversation. Looking at the page of buttons, find the rabbit button and bear button, fun times, ah, fun times. So if you look at this picture what do you see?
Maybe you just see an old box but it is so much more. This bankers box has traveled from Princeton, New Jersey to Stillwater, Minnesota. You can tell what the contents were based on the Sharpie writing on the side. What you don’t know is that this box had a life after transporting books. It sat in my office at First Presbyterian Church, Hastings, MN where it lived under my desk and held my recycling. Periodically I would bring it home and empty the contents into the garage recycling bin and then transport the box back to work. It may be difficult to see but I regularly reinforced the handles with packing tape when they tore off. To make a long story short, I have had this box for 13 years total and have been using it as recycling for the last six years.
At any rate, on this particular day, I arrived home from work after a long day and wanted to empty the box and put it back in the car. On this occasion I needed help holding the lid of the recycling bin open because of the weight of the box. Emmett (nearly 11) was playing whiffle ball in the yard so I called to him to come help. He held open the lid while I dumped the contents into the bin and then the handle ripped off completely and box went into the bin. My first thought was, “it’s a perfectly good box, I can save it and use it some more.” Emmett seemed to know exactly what I was thinking (I do talk about stewardship a lot) and he said, “Let it go Mom.” With a slight pang of guilt I did let it go and now we get a good chuckle out of it, especially if we see the Letgo.com commercial. While it is always a good thing to be a good steward of resources, sometimes it is ok to let go of things. Thank you Emmett for reminding me to not take myself so seriously and that it is ok to let go. Yet again, wisdom from the mouths of children.
I just returned from a few days in beautiful Princeton, New Jersey (yes it was sunny and 97 on the day I left). Princeton Theological Seminary annually hosts an alumni reunion and as a member of the Alumni Association Executive Council, I had the privilege of helping to host the reunion. I was challenged intellectually, met new people, and enjoyed stimulating conversation. Some people might know that this year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so the reunion theme integrated this historical event. Re:Union was an opportunity to reflect on what reformation meant to the church and what it means in our lives. John Calvin would say that the church is reformed and always reforming, such an exciting concept that reformation is a process, not an event. My time on campus reminds me of how much how I have learned, as well as, that God is not done with me yet, I too am always being reformed. Tradition and innovation are important components of both the past and the future. Words can scarcely express my appreciation and gratitude for the way Princeton Theological Seminary and Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City formed me in ways I could never have imagined. Tradition and innovation intersected to offer me countless opportunities for learning and growth.
My time on campus was also a reminder that even though it may seem like the roads in front of us are washed out, we are compelled to continue moving, and instead just move in another direction. So what may seem like wandering is really God doing a new thing in us and through us.
I could give you countless biblical examples of people who wandered or were lost or both, but the take away is that God owns all the roads, so even if we think we are lost, God is still with us. Perhaps we would be better served paying attention to God, our traveling companion, rather than worry about how time is spent or if we are on the right road. Wander. Get Lost. Pray. God is with you.