I was just now sitting in one of my happy places- sun shining, soft cool wind blowing, temperature just right, Spring flowers in bloom all around me with trees budding directly over my head. Oh- and a large iced coffee. The small cup of hot java came a bit later.
Moments of rest and reflection are a tonic to me.
But as the title says, I’m a person of four worlds. I originally thought to title it “Two Worlds” but as you’ll see, for me it’s really double that.
I was born in a town of 10,000, then our family moved in and around smaller towns, also several rural places in Dodge County Wisconsin and then finally to in a working class suburb of Milwaukee. After I graduated high school I lived in Milwaukee’s inner city, then to Florida (Jacksonville for a month or so, Gainesville several months more) and finally here in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood where we’ve lived ever since.
All this came back to me as I sat sipping my cold drink in the chair you see in the pic, while perhaps 4 feet away and unbeknownst to him, a dude stood just over the brick wall that boarders two sides of our garden, cursing, every so often rattling off unintelligible complaints. He may suffer mental illness, addiction, homelessness, may be a gang member who is high or even in a one-sided conversation with a real or imagined friend or enemy, or even God. I couldn’t make much out to say one way or the other. I’m not “judge of all the earth”, but what I did think about in that moment was this:
We need places of refuge, peace and quiet, but we also need to wake up. We need noise and discomfort in order to get beyond our walls whether we or someone else has built one. We NEED times of solitude, prayer, reflection, and we need times and a person/people/God to complain to and all of us need all of these or the weight of living in a fallen world can be crushing and nearly unbearable.
My jaunts into the woods are always a tonic because the critters, trees and brush, the hills and hollows don’t care what you look like, how you dress ,what your position/station in life is or is not, how much money you make or whether you need to brush your teeth. You can relax because the woods and waters aren’t going to judge your performance or whether or not you’re “cool enough”. Nice. Peaceful.
On the other hand I can’t imagine (yes I can actually) living away from most people off in a secluded area where I am essentially focused on my own little kingdom where in practical reality most everything revolves around me and my wishes or whims of the moment. The “interruptions” of people “just over the wall” are often exactly what I need to turn my mind, heart and focus on others and their needs -and this my friends, is something too many of us like to have control of. We love the escape hatch of self and personal pursuits.
As much as I relate to rural life, hunting, fishing, gardening and a quiet lifestyle I find God often stirs me via the noise of broken people as well as moves me to MAKE NOISE hopefully in such a way via music, writing or chatting, that others might get beyond their own walls -including the one’s we/I may build.
So I am a person of two worlds in terms of a rural, quiet, peaceful and personal-thoughts mindset but also one who lives in a large and often shouting Big City with a great many demands, hurts, sirens and noise that keeps me moving in directions I am convinced God has called me to move in -mostly TOWARD rather than AWAY from people in need.
Yet as I think, pray, write lyrics, blog and write other social media posts, listen to/focus on as well as speak with individuals and entire groups I find myself in two more minds -those being a saved, born-again, Spirit-filled Christ-follower AS WELL AS varied views of a pre-believer.
I listen, read a ton, ask questions and try to not only hear but understand the words and body language of people around me best as I can. That means thinking outside of a purely regenerate, sanctified, Christian world-view and framework. I well remember my pre-Chistian days and nights. Making it a point to get with individuals and sometimes large numbers of out-right antagonistic unbelievers is also a tonic for me because it forces me to consider other points of view, to ask questions, to try to understand the reasoning and often the sense of confusion, pain and loss that is common among both professing Christian as well as those who do not walk with Jesus in saving faith.
For me it’s four worlds: urban, rural, believing, not-yet.
In a word, “balance”. We need broad experience and a mature view from both sides of the walls, whether self-built or not.
We need ears to hear.
Perhaps some of this may resonate with you?
Living cloistered behind a wall will never allow for us to become salt and light in this often very dark world.
Jesus Himself regularly went off and away from the crowds to rest, pray and humanly speaking, refuel -though He was “filled with the Spirit beyond measure”. He often brought His disciples with Him in this, but sometimes went to meet with the Father alone. Yet He daily interacted with the broken- friends and enemies alike. He did not hide Himself away in his earthly Dad’s carpenter shop, for His work was ultimately –us-.
Things to consider along the path!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn