I sometimes forget that not everyone lives the way I do. For instance, I spend a lot of time talking about ideas and having deep conversations. Intimacy of the emotional variety is simply part of my everyday life. It surprises me to hear that there is an epidemic of loneliness because folks don’t feel they have the opportunity for those conversations.
I forget that a lot of people believe in sin and brokenness. I live with the idea that God is all around me and in me all the time. People who are deeply passionate about the “right” way to relate to the “right” God are not really part of my life. Even the folks that quietly believe there is a “true path” aren’t much part of my life. I am free of the need to be right about that one. I honestly don’t care what you call the god you relate to.
What I also know is that I have to be careful to stop living in my safe little world every so often. And so I take classes on religion out in the bigger world. I read about what the current trends and research are in culture and religion. I read about the wants and needs of the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. I read about the needs and experiences of people of color and prisoners and people in other countries. All of that is mostly theoretical though. I can read about how to ride a bike, but that doesn’t get me out on a bike, does it?
And so, I’m going to step out of my usual world for a bit. Although I will still have posts going out over the next few weeks, I am going on walkabout. I’ll be away from my Center for six weeks. I’ll be out of the country for part of that. It’s time for me to fulfill a bucket list dream and travel a bit. My desired outcomes include getting some rest and doing some stuff I’ve put off around my house. I want to get out the mental rut we all get into when our routine takes over our lives. I want to travel to a place where I can see how people who live very differently actually live. I’ll be in London – a city instead of the rural life I have here, and a culture very different than American culture. There will be different money, different food and a chance to ride on a different side of the road both metaphorically and physically.
In order to see things through new eyes, we sometimes have to shake up our very foundations. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable. We need our assumptions about life and how it has to be lived to be challenged. I understand that travel does that. I also understand from my ministerial friends that how we live is not entirely normal and that you need to stop for more than a long weekend or even a week or so in order to really shift gears.
So I thank the Divine that I have this opportunity to live life unlike I live it. I’m grateful to the folks who will be covering for me on Sundays and during the week. I’m grateful that I have no idea what I’m getting into and so can’t really set any expectations. And I offer you the suggestion that you, too, can take yourself out of everyday life in order to find out what else the Divine has in store for you.