I went for a long walk with an incredible woman yesterday. It was the first day of Sara’s Christmas vacation and we treated ourselves to something we’ve been talking about doing for a long time. We boarded a boat at the Ventura Harbor and sailed 20 miles out to the Channel Islands, a national park seeking to restore these magnificent islands in their natural state. They are uninhabited except for campers and offer miles of hiking trails and incredible vistas. The photo at left is of Potato Harbor, a three-mile hike from the dock, on the horizon you can see the mainland.
We both came back from our day together renewed in so many ways. I wonder if the days Jesus loved the most were the ones many would have considered the wasted days of travel—walking from one village to the next with his guys. I have a whole new appreciation for them, having just spent the day with Sara far from any distraction and in the beauty of God’s creation. We observed wild flowers and graceful birds in flight and thought of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 that when you do so, remember how much Father loves you and be assured that he will take care of you no matter what life throws at you.
Sara and I got to talk about so many things that get swallowed up in the busyness of responsibilities and the distractions of life in the 21st Century. We obviously can’t do that every day, but it’s worth doing more than we take the time to. There’s nothing like long, uninterrupted day together to renew our souls and our relationship to each other. I think our culture has become claustrophobic with its myriad of demands and entertainments. Only by pulling away from it from time to time can we see once again what is most important. And for those who live in colder climates, don’t think I’m trying to torture you here. Next week I’ll be at my parents’ home knee deep in snow and Sara and I will bundle up there and take a walk as well. Freshly fallen snow also has a beauty and stillness all its own.
We sailed back at day’s end to an incredible sunset that peaked just as we docked back at the harbor. I took the photo at left just before the boat docked. It was breathtaking!
On the way back Father had another treat in store. It turns out the naturalist on our tour is a retired Lutheran pastor, who is as disillusioned by the state of Christianity in our day as Sara and I are. We had a great time sharing with him on the way back to the mainland. It seemed he’d learned some similar lessons on the journey about who Father is and how he transforms people. He even asked us if we could give him a ride home afterwards. We did and even gave him a copy of He Loves Me as well.
What an incredible day. It reminds me of something I read last week in Philippians 4:4, and this from the Message again. “Celebrate God all day every day. I mean revel in him!” Yesterday we got to do that. We reveled in his great love and renewed our own for each other. I hope you can find a time and place to do that a well this season. It will touch you in ways you’d never forsee.