Traveling is one of my favorite things to do.  I appreciate Susan Sontag’s quote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”  I have lists of places to go, though not every trip needs to be far away.  The state of Connecticut ranks 48th in size (land mass) in our country, so I’ve set a goal to visit all 169 towns in Connecticut.  I even have a travel book to keep track of my adventures.  (This may sound odd/nerdy/disturbingly organized, but visiting all 169 towns is totally achievable [and fun!] for a wanderluster like me and it’s helping to get to know Connecticut better.)

On a recent trip, I explored Hopemead State Park in Bozrah.  I drive by Bozrah all the time, but hadn’t taken the time to explore and my research indicated that there was a small state park that sounded like a nice place to visit.  My GPS declared that I had arrived at my destination, but there wasn’t a sign anywhere for the Park.  Looking around I wasn’t sure where to park, so I pulled over the best I could.  The frustration began to build because this happens all the time.  “Why are you so directionally-impaired?”  “Why do people not have clear signs around here?”  “Why is there never any parking at these places?”  Blah blah blah.  The inner critic and the complainer began to have a dialogue in my mind.  Maybe that happens to you sometimes.

Then I looked up and saw a deer peacefully grazing.  In the middle of the afternoon on a lovely day in this heavily wooded park in Bozrah.  Our eyes met and I saw the alarm though tried to communicate that I’m just sitting here lost and mean no harm.  I think she got the memo because she just kept grazing and meandered into the woods.  I got out of the car and began walking along the path. (You see, I was in the right place and had been parked in front of the trailhead the whole time, discovering this once I got out of my own way and actually looked closer.)  As I walked, a butterfly began swooping up and down, circling me.  Brilliant blue against the green canvas of the forest.  It made me laugh since it felt like I was Sleeping Beauty hanging out in the woods with my woodland friends who came to me in my time of distress!  But also because these precious moments in God’s creation made me get over myself (and the inner critic and complainer) to just be.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to be present.  To not replay the past (because the past is finished and gone) and not to plan our lives far into the future (because who can predict the future?)  We make plans and God laughs!  Our challenge is to be in the here and now and pay attention to the ways that God is at work in our world and in our lives.  To pay attention to the ways that we can shine our lights in our hurting world.

Love,
Pastor Lauren 

(This Week’s Thoughts 6.20.19)