I stepped out of the car and onto the sidewalk. The bright windows of the empty shop in front of us reflected the water and sky broken by the narrow line of the bluffs behind. I pushed the button and immediately realized, I was getting the call, the call we’d been waiting for. I was being let go. Laid off.
We were at the tail end of our vacation in Mendocino, God’s country on the northern California coast, a blossoming June day. I say we’d been waiting for it. And we had, in a way, though finally content with God's appointment in Colorado and the high desert, front range, big-transient-city-that-still-thinks-it's-a-small-town. We love our friends and we fit the profile. We became corporate Christian publishing and the white-picket Jesus Land, though it never fit our style.
And I shook hands with a new life in my mind while standing on the sand-strewn cement in front of tourist galleries and coffee shops, and knew all this was our gift. Wrapped up in a giant, cascading bow, so began our next step toward the great dream, this dream placed in us long ago that we only just now have to start waking up to.
Where we’re going, we don’t know. Or we do, but not really. We'll go west and be with family, seek the most fertile places to plant ourselves and love people. Employ our skills to the tasks we’ve longed to do. And experience, this is the more we want to be aware of, with life skittering out in all directions like water beads on a skillet. We’re excited to spread.
The people and places we’ve met in the short time we were on the blue coast opened our eyes to something we want to teach. Ourselves and others, to open our eyes and live with our hearts, to find the tools to express the deeper desires and find the words that speak of an enjoyed life lived more fully.
This is the glimmering prize in the bright kingdom of grace: the kingdom is only found in letting it go. And will I learn now how this was meant to leave us more aware of our true value to the gift-giver? And how do I respond to this? And how can there be any improvement upon what’s already been made so abundantly clear here?
We are loved, all. Inexcusably.
The answers I have for this are all still-lifes, frozen in the paintings of the white-walled galleries of Mendocino. Answers contained in simply asking the questions the artist inspires.
How can I love today?
The first question.
And the next.
Who wants to help?