Anne blogs at Front Porch, Inspired about surrendering everyday living for sacred purposes. She and her husband, Jay, are founders of a ministry called The Bridge, focusing on missional living and advocacy for youth in vulnerable places of life. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (TESOL and Spanish) and is a lover of words and the Word, culture and communication. Jay and Anne have five kids, a front door that can’t stay closed, and an abundance of messy, holy chaos at their neighborhood center/home in Iowa – of all places.
Some days, when it’s raining, I pretend I’m in Oregon. The rain is gentle and constant and little yellow flowers are poking through the dewy grass. I carry a red umbrella and smell the clean drizzle, breathing in deep to free my soul.
But I’m not in Oregon.
I’m here – here where life is complex. Where appointments are made and some problems aren’t fixable. It’s where hearts get beat up like punching bags and knees get tired from praying.
Here, it’s corn and flat lands. It’s ordinary, and it’s not especially photo-worthy. It’s one day at a time, making plans and praying harder and eating our fruits and vegetables. It’s cleaning up supper dishes. It’s vacuuming up dog hair again. It’s a flat tire and homework with the kids after school and a reliance on morning coffee. It’s Iowa here.
No red umbrellas, no waves in the distance, no mountain tops.
Maybe in Oregon, the challenges wouldn’t be as resilient as the yellow flowers and red umbrellas. Or maybe in California, problems would be carried away by the waves or maybe they’d just evaporate in the sunshine. Or maybe in Colorado the mountains would welcome me, carrying me to a higher place than the memories could ever reach.
But then again, I suppose it could just be Iowa anywhere.
For the mundane can sneak up and make a lifetime out of hours and days in whatever place.
Everything in me wants to rage against that - against the steady pull of routine that puts one foot into front of the other time after time against a gray backdrop of what’s always been. I want to close my ears to the hypnotic rhythm of history that dictates expectations.
A favorite professor of mine always said on particularly dreary mornings that it was time to “shake things up a bit,” and today I’m agreeing with him. Today is for new beginnings. Today is for hope. Today is for kicking through walls into new directions.
And so, I’m looking for yellow flowers in the dewy grass. They are here somewhere under the layers of the everyday and the common. They are scented with His grace, His provision, His love.
I think I’ll pick a whole bouquet and remember that God’s purpose can be found, will be found - even in the Iowa flat lands.