Monday, July 04, 2011

A different kind of 4th

Of all holidays, I think I have the most unique and varied memories of the 4th of July--top two being the one before I started high school and the one spent in Swaziland. That summer spent (in the U.P.) at the lake house before high school was simply wonderful. I don't know if anything will beat watching the fireworks burst overhead from our seat in the row boat (pieces of cardboard and what-not landing in the water around us). And then I'll never forget homemade pizza, watching Jim and Matt and others set off small firecrackers and sparklers from the balcony of that Mbabane base, while being led in our national anthem by Nini (a native Swazi). I think she had more pride in celebrating the holiday with us than any of us American's had in being American. It was kind of cute.

This year, I got to spend the weekend with my Grandma and my uncle Matt. I was so grateful because I don't necessarily get to see them all that often. It's a gift to be with people who are at different stages of life and who are family and who love you. Sometimes I get caught in my stage of life. It's so helpful to listen to people who are in the middle of their lives or to those nearing the end. And I don't mean this at all in a morbid sense. There's a certain beauty about those who have soaked up so much of life's wisdom because they've been around long enough. I felt it with Grandma--yes, you Grandma!--this weekend. I want to listen to things she says because I know she knows what she's talking about. She's lived so much more of life than I have. For example: when she says, "what joy have we but family--relationships?" I listen up and I tuck that away because I know that she's right...and that she's had more experience with it all than I have.

I delighted to walk through the woods with Matt--up Swede Town Creek--and sit on the shore of that certain Great Lake :) soaking up "the peace of wild things" and catching up on life.

And, as usual, pictures and memories of Papa that will always have me aching and missing him but we do alright because we still have each other and we're still taking pictures and making memories.

Then there was the drive home which was good for thinking and wondering and praying and processing. There is so much space for it out there. Driving across Wisconsin today was so refreshing. The sky so BIG and clear and blue. The fields so FAR and rich and green. Spectacular.

There's been much on my mind and heart and I was able to reach a good bit of clarity this weekend, which I am thankful for. One thing i've been thinking about is the relationship between belief and freedom (faith and hope is sort of another way of terming it, i think). I was thinking about our instinctive search for truth and lasting things--which is a search for peace (freedom). I felt this on the shore of Lake Superior. I find peace there. Freedom. Why do we ache so much to find peace? Mom reminded me today that we were made for more than this life, so we feel unsettled if we think this is all there is.

I got home and got to looking through some Piper sermons. Gosh, I haven't listened to him in so so long. I watched this of his and was floored. So timely. So good to hear. So simple and so beautiful. I had to laugh a little--he's so goofy and I'd forgotten. I appreciate how utterly captivated he is by his love for the Lord. He doesn't discount the difficulty of faith but he also doesn't discount the joy of knowing Christ. He emphasizes spiritual knowledge (head) and spiritual experience (heart) and I think I'll always be indebted to him for helping me learn the necessity of these both for the maturity of faith (scholarship and relationship). I have a lot to learn. We do well to be reminded of the beauty of God and his interactive life with the world. Wait till you get to his discussion of the relationship between freedom and desire. I really appreciate what he has to say. His illustrations are helpful. SO, enough jibber jabber. I hope you watch it. It is 45 minutes well worth it. Take a little break...

Happy 4th, everyone. I hear the explosions across the city!!

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