Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Journeys We Take
I can almost guarantee you've never read this book: My Little Journey by June Strong.
While we lived in Nevada, I found a once-sodden hardback copy of her other book, Journal of a Happy Woman, and read it, mostly summers, for the next ten years. It's a book describing a year from June's life of raising her 6 children (when her days were all laid out for her in advance), on a piece of countryside very near where I live now. (How serendipitous to move here from Nevada and find June almost next door! I have since seen her house from the road.) The book is cozy, farm-like, and details the joy in small things in June's Christian family.
And then, years later, there was My Little Journey.
At 49, most of June's children had by now either moved away or were finishing high school and June was experiencing the lovely time we women know as The Throes of Pre-menopause. You know, when your body is shaking you up and your mind feels like a ball of snapping rubber bands. And Life As You've Known It is shifting like sand at the ocean's edge. Also known as a Mid-Life Crisis.
So for one week, June took a journey alone, something very uncharacteristic for her. With her family's (confused) blessing, she flew to Portland, Maine and spent one week hiking down the coast along Highway 1. Alone. At 49. And she recorded how she was feeling, whom she met, her conversations with others and with God, and her insights gained while walking beside sea towns.
I love this book. In fact, I first read it while in my own little Throes of Pre-menopause, times when I'd feel Life was amazing on a Tuesday, but by Wednesday, I'd be sitting, huddled, in my bedroom with the curtains drawn shut, wanting all people everywhere to just Leave Me Alone. Some of you know exactly what I mean.
And after reading about June's journey, I toyed with traveling ideas of my own. Maybe I'd take a bus, not to a faraway place, but perhaps over to East Aurora, NY. Tom and I had visited there a couple times and it's such a cute old town, the place where Fisher Price Toys began and so they have the niftiest Fisher Price Toy Museum there. There's also a huge old-fashioned 5-and-Dime store with a maze of tiny shops upon hundred-year-old wooden floors. And much more to make you feel you've arrived by way of a time travel machine set for 1940.
And maybe someday I'll take a trip like that. But I think I've already, at 48, found what June discovered on her little journey. That, when your Life changes, you must change alongside it... you have to change your mind and attitude and some ways you've always done things. You have to walk that whole new path whose end--or even middle--you cannot see. But when you leave the old path and find the right new one, you'll know it, for it will bring a peace which no one can snatch away (though heaven knows, people and circumstances will try).
And most of all, June discovered, I believe, that you have to carve out time each day to seek God on this new journey. That you must come apart with Him or else you'll come apart at your seams. That we must pause to see how He feels about every step we take, so that we'll arrive exactly where He's planned for us to be when He's ready to walk us Home...
... And so that we'll get there by way of Joy and Peace in our heart's deepest places along each mile of this journey, even if the journey is just a daily stroll around the block.