Friday, May 27, 2016

Reflection: Swans Island Adventure

This morning Jamie and I awoke to a light New England rain and gentle coastal winds on a small island off the coast of Maine. We are staying in a cozy space in the middle of a few thousand acres on Swan’s Island Maine. It is a bit ironic that here in the middle of the ocean and off the coast of the mainland, we still have internet access. I guess the folks who provided our lodging space felt like it may be a bit too spartan to not have access to the internet out here, but we were prepared for no access.

The drizzle of rain and cool wind provides us with a natural incentive to stay inside, to write, to reflect, to enjoy the company of one another, and to celebrate. And there is so much to celebrate! Today marks our fifth wedding anniversary, and our hearts are warm and full from the joy that God has given us over these five years together. Every single day is a gift, and thankfully we have been able to spend the majority of the last 1,827 of them together with Christ as our center and exploring this majestic and magical world He created.

In our world today, we hurry about from event to event, and do not take time to savor the present moment, to remember the journey to this point, and to cast our vision forward to the enchanted future filled with opportunities and new worlds to discover. Jamie and I strive to make this a part of our daily rhythm, and during this time away, we have made it a central part of our daily adventures. Sitting on rocks by the ocean, we invite the crashing waves to awaken our spirits to the deep memories and then take time to savor even greater moments of gratitude for this life, the incredible friends we have, the unbelievable adventures we have experienced, and the awe we have for being privileged to enjoy this journey together.
Swan’s Island is a beautiful place, and the pace of life here is such that it affords a space for slowing down. There are about 350 inhabitants on this 80 square mile island and lots of wilderness to explore. Many of the locals make their living from the seasonal provisions of lobstering. In many ways, this island community is very similar to communities back home in West Virginia. People are hard working, friendly, and willing to help out someone in need. Everybody waves as they drive by us on the island.

There is so much in this world to savor and appreciate. For us, slowing down the pace of our routines is just disruptive enough to deepen our sense of gratitude for little gifts all around us. We have found ourselves curiously exploring wooded trails and rocky beaches and filled with wonder at the slow movements of sea crabs, snails, and barnacles along the coast as well as the darting of rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks, and the soaring of eagles and gulls among the treetops.

The really amazing part of this adventure is that there are similar treasures awaiting discovery all around us every day.  Having a moment to pause, Jamie and I have found ourselves sharing stories of childhood adventures from fishing trips at Mountwood Park (and elsewhere) on an almost daily basis each spring with my dad, my uncle Russell, and cousin Jo Ann, to journeys over the hill and into the woods behind her house for Jamie and her dad as she started her “Save The World Club” by collecting acorns for the squirrels around Lake Floyd. So many of our memories are connected to the wilderness, and every opportunity we get, we make moves toward the trees, the water, and the forests.

May we each take time to savor and create memories, and may we step out into creation as curious explorers of this world. God has provided us so much for which to be thankful, and even if we spent our whole lives trying to soak it all in, we would only be scratching the surface. May we scratch and play and uncover fresh treasures and make memories to savor, enjoy, and press us further into this grand narrative that the Creator of the universe writes through and with us.

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