Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GUATEMALA 2012: (7) Two Hats and 100 Hours

In 100 hours Caleb and I will be on approach to Guatemala City, Guatemala. We will break through the clouds and get our first glimpse of the vast valley below that is cradled between volcanoes. We will stand in the stuffy plane while the flight crew prepares the doors for our exit and then we will make our way through customs and immigration. Our forms will be correct and our step will be sure. Most likely I will be waved to the side to be searched... it is my normal routine.

I can picture myself scanning the crowd for familiar faces as we exit the terminal into the ordered chaos of vendors, reunions, and men wearing white Guatemalan Cattleman hats. I will smile as my eyes meet familiar faces that have watched as my life transformed. At that moment, I will know that we are in the provision of God.

True... we always have been, but this is the place where I first really noticed... and so it is the place where I feel it quickened by the memory of that pivotal experience.

These past 3 weeks have moved quickly for our family. We have only recently moved from our home and parted with most of our belongings. It is really amazing how we notice their absence, but find ourselves wanting nothing. We somehow feel like we have more than we knew we could hold. How is it that in letting go, we find our foothold? Scriptures echo in my mind... bits of finding life as we let it go, and wanting nothing. I think of the lineage of David and Jesus.

As the wind blows the dust through the crowd, I will imagine the faces I see as a continuation of this incredible epic story. There is deep truth here. My prayer is that my eyes remain open to see it and that my feet step to find purchase. My son is at my side. This experience will shape him.

During the pace of these recent days I have struggled to speak words to him that will prepare him, and yet I find them all to be anemic. I began to worry that I was completely ineffective. It was then that I began to notice my son.

He was re-reading a series of Indiana Jones novels that had sat on a shelf for several years. He noticed them again as we packed up his room. His movie of choice over the last couple of days was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I thought this was just the random attention span of an 11 year old boy until I noticed his hat.

I have a Minnetonka Roll-up hat that I purchased a decade ago while traveling through the U.P. of MIchigan. It is dark brown leather and indestructible. I have worn in on many an excursion... it has gone with me on every trip to Guate. Caleb has seen it in our pictures, and he has watched me set it out in preparation for each journey. 5 years ago we found ourselves on vacation in Charleston, and he found a very similar hat for himself. It has been shoved in some unknown corner nearly since.

This hat has been close to him over the past week, nearly always at his side. Tonight I noticed that he had it next to his bag for Guatemala. I stopped as I considered the parallel to my own pile of essentials. He wasn't only enjoying a movie... he was excited for his own upcoming adventure. He was preparing for his trip the same way he had seen me... so many times.

I breathed a little deeper. I was relieved, and also a little sobered. My son may not always hear my words, but he is paying attention to what I do. He sees my preparation, he gets the significance of the adventure. And I will need to take care that my steps are true. It is tricky stepping into the unknown... but it is critical when you realize that another is following those steps.

This Sunday I listened to my pastor reference Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." My mind caught on the concept that the steps of my walk had been ordained by God even before I was aware.

Each week of our lives seems to gift us with another unexpected turn. We have had experiences that we greet with exuberant enthusiasm, and those that we greet with groans, impatience, and huffs. And yet... both types of experiences are indeed these steps that are necessary for us to complete.

My son isn't the only little guy that needs to look up to his father to find an example. I refocus my eyes and lift my heart as I realize that I too... must notice the actions of the One who has gone before me.

The worries of the day... and the chores of doing... must fade away to simply looking, trusting, and walking. 

I thank God for 100 hours and Indiana Jones.

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