Crunch, crunch, crunch.
(The gravel grinds underfoot.)
Chhhhhh, chhhhhh, chhhhhh.
(The wind blows past my ears.)
Wheewhee, chirpchirp, lalalala.
(The birds sing in the trees.)
I walked past the gravel road, onto the pavement. Past the barn, the hay, the fields. The family gathered cattle behind me, but I pressed into the silence further ahead.
I’ve been seeking out silence this Lent. Finding it and pressing in. Intentionally looking for the quiet.
It’s easier to find out here. The farm offers the space I have craved.
Last weekend, little bit and I drove into town from the ranch for supplies.
She cradled my phone in her hands with the little map on the screen in front of her. It was foggy and the roads ahead weren’t visible.
Where are we?, she asked looking for the blue dot that would show her where we were in relation to where we were headed.
Where is our destination?, she followed up looking for the red dot that would provide her the answer. Not seeing it appear on the screen.
Where are we?, I thought this morning as I walked toward nothing in particular. Where’s our destination?
I’m less concerned with that question than I used to be. Historically, I would have laid out the map for where we were, where we would be tomorrow, and next month, and next year. Heck, I’ve almost stopped asking the question.
Last weekend, I sat in the stillness as the fog rolled over the fields and animals.
I absorbed the space.
Then, I drove along the Gulf Coast the next morning, increasingly disoriented, Deep in dark fog to get to a work assignment.
I woke the next morning in what looked to be a cloud and wandered from the hotel to the oceanfront next door. As God parted the heavy mist, I absorbed the space. I listened to the waves.
This weekend, the tail end of Spring Break, brought us to the farm. Lately, I have suffered from searing headaches and one had descended just as we arrived. I went straight to bed. It lasted 24 hours. When I woke this morning, it had lifted, like the fog, and in gratitude I went walking.
Not for exercise value. Not to reach a destination. But to absorb the space.
There’s been a verse I’ve come back to for five years now. It appears twice in the Bible. As if once wasn’t enough for us to get it. First in 2 Samuel, then in Psalm:
He brought me into a spacious place. He rescued me because He delighted in me.
I’ve been studying a book with my church this Lent, Sacred Pace. It reemphasized a desire that has grown in me for years now, sometimes quashed by the inevitability of life in the modern age: intentionality.
Absorbing the space, and creating more of it.
Realizing if we will allow ourselves to be rescued, we will discover a spacious place.
Making intentional choices that matter in the long run.
So today I studied the bramble on the rusting gate.
I watched the water flow out of the bayou.
I listened to the cows moo as I returned.
On this day before St. Patrick’s Day, I even found a four leaf clover. Because I was moving slowly. And looking for one.
And I continued my un-destination quest. Looking for nothing, headed nowhere, and finding myself.