A few more days in Virginia—Lynchburg, to be exact—and then we turn westward for the long drive home. We have been traveling through autumn colors since early September in Duluth and have immersed ourselves in its beauty. I want to be like that in the autumn of my life, letting God’s beauty shine through me rather than approaching death angry and bitter.
So, we’ve completed the front nine and are ready to play the holes that take you home. If you have not listened to Wayne’s Happiest Day Ever, you might want to give it a listen. It will tell you much about what God has been doing this season.
And I suspect that the first half of this journey was for Sara and me to process our 46 years of marriage and how the trauma had affected our relationship and embrace the further healing and insight he gave us.
Though that healing will continue for many years to come, the trip home seems to be set up to help us discover new patterns for our life after we return home. I can’t even begin to convey how exciting, fresh, and joyful this stretch of the journey is for both of us.
So here are a few of our notes from the first half of the journey.
- There are so many incredible Christ-followers in the world. We’ve had deep fellowship wherever we’ve been and heard some beautiful stories about the ways in which God works. We have been with many of those friends that were instrumental in carrying Sara and me through our days of separation and pain and stood with us as God opened up the fantastic doors of revelation, healing, and more profound love. Jesus’ church in the world is alive and well, a community that spans the whole world with a wealth of wisdom, insight, and compassion.
- A return to innocence is possible even beyond trauma. I see it every day in Sara’s growing freedom. The childhood she missed is being recaptured in the present. The loss of shame, the looks of wonder at the world around her, and the spontaneous laughter all attest to this growing freedom, and we want others to know it is there for them too. That’s why Jesus died to restore the innocence of the Garden, from which we can explore a new attunement with God. We know Sara’s transformation has been ridiculously quick, but the foundation was laid for it thirty years ago when we began to learn how to live in the affection of the Father.
- Attunement is quickly becoming one of our favorite words, both with Sara and me and with God and us. Attunement is more than good communication with another; it means we are tuning to another’s mind and heart and letting that impact our own. (Colossians 1:9-12) Dr. Dan Siegel defines it this way, “When we attune with others, we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another. This resonance is at the heart of the important sense of “feeling felt” that emerges in close relationships. Children need attunement to feel secure and to develop well, and throughout our lives, we need attunement to feel close and connected.” Extended time together and really listening to the other is key to strengthening the bonds of attunement. When I live my day attuned to God, I can see his way forward even through great pain.
- There is so much unresolved pain in the world. You can be both an incredible Christ-follower and also be journeying through some dark places in your heart—whether that is caused by unreconciled trauma or by painful circumstances of betrayal or family dysfunction.
- Unfortunately, many people try to pray away the symptoms of their pain rather than probe the source of it. Be it fear, anger, loneliness, or shame, those are often responses to believing something about yourself or God that isn’t true. You may have no idea what it is, but he does, and he can be the Way to lead you to his freedom and fullness.
- There is a rhythm of joy flowing from the heart of Jesus every day despite the depth of pain we may carry. Look for him in the beauty around you, the stillness of your heart, and the tears running down your cheeks. He is there, and his heartbeat can show you ways forward you have yet to consider.
- Finding the best cinnamon rolls in each state is a worthy and highly satisfying objective. Enough said.
So, where do we go from here? It’s a fluid schedule, but we are considering this route home:
- Damascus, VA
- Chattanooga, TN
- Atlanta day trip from Chattanooga
- Nashville, TN
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Dallas, TX
- Abilene, TX
- Lubbock, TX
- Carlsbad, NM
- Las Cruces, NM
- Phoenix, AZ
- Camarillo, CA
It is a flexible routing since we really don’t know where the wind of the Spirit might blow us on this journey home. We expect things to unfold like they did coming out, but we do hope to be home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.
And, no, we don’t have dates yet or locations where we might be at larger gatherings. But this trip is more about conversations than meetings, so if you’re somewhere along that route and want to connect with us as we move through, please don’t be bashful. Could you write me and let me know? We’ll do what we can but can’t promise to meet all requests.