I went to see Madagascar 3 over the weekend. This is the animated film about zoo animals who travel the world. They desperately want back into their zoo in Central Park NYC ,and they finally do make it home. When they arrive they realize travel is where adventure and imagination reign and where they feel alive. They decide to return to the worldwide traveling circus they recently joined.
I had a missionary friend who said God puts into the missionary the need to go ..This works in opposition to the human need to nest. How does one resolve this? I was talking with a special friend and church pastor in Abq where I live...where I sometimes travel to also. She spoke of the importance of home, and church as home. Sitting in the comfort of my favorite chair..in my spare room office....which in Jesus words is becoming "my closet", I agreed with her and said how I love having a home. I love home. I love writing and reading the One Year Bible. I love journaling...and having lunch with my daughter. I love mornings with Wendy. I love coffee from a fresh new bean with half and half. We have a high wall with leaves from a vine that grows deeper and wider each summer. I love sitting there especially in the mornings. I love bike rides and long walks with Wendy. When I am driven to the airport I dread leaving. I never want to go. Yet I have worked night and day, prayer and patience to get that opporttunity to leave home and go somewhere else. Why....how....strange....is ....the .......mind ......of a man........who moves.
But as much as I love private I also love just "meeting" with people by chance along the way.
I spent the 1st 37 years of my life within a 200 mile radius of my birthplace in the Bronx NY. My 20-something days, which were somehow longer" than 10 years, I call the “Lost In Brooklyn” days. I was in the men’s garment business and I never really accepted it, yet I adapted very well. To make it in NYC you need to know your own personal uniqness and then learn to be comfortable in it; how to live with it and how to express it. I think in hindsight that driving around and around those 5 boroughs of NYC and seeing my customers taught me how to travel and yet stay uniquely me.
People today ask me “how do you do all those different denominations....do you act differently in each place?” A good question! Good questions help foster answers one did not know he had. The key to travel is to stay the same. The key to staying the same is to know who you are. The key to knowing who you are is to have experiences - especially with people. How many times at the airport I so would rather be at home, or like the animals in Madagascar, in a cage in the zoo, than to go where nothing is comfortable. Facing the unexpected is not comfortable. I call travel at my level the greyhound bus tour. Once I took a greyhound from South Bend to Hartford CT. It was one way and the cost 54.00. The gas for me to drive would have been 2 times that. I took an ambien and fell asleep at 11pm and woke at 6am. The ride was longer than that but I got my sleep. I made my dates and God gave me comfort. Time and again this makes up for the uncomfortable.
Sometimes when I do the Abq to L.A. trip by car I will get out of the car at night somewhere in desolate Arizona and look at the stars. I feel like Abraham. “See those stars, you cannot count them and, son, you cannot count how much I love you." Sometimes, filled with His glory and joy, I will then dance...and dance...with God. He really is God with us....with me. He really loves it when I ask Him questions instead of me doing all the talking. I am alone when I travel and sometimes I reach out and when I do , He is there. If I were never alone on the road I may never have known how good a conversationalist He is. How well He listens. How much He says via listening. He makes me laugh too…out loud! And He cracks me up with the way He says things. Some of His best stuff for me He saves for the road. So much of it is getting to the place of ministry. The ministry is often our focal point, but the travel, the special meetings with pastors, and making new friends, is the life of the kingdom.
My famous saying is I do not play Jesus He plays me. It is not what we do for God, but what we do from God. He, living in me, needs to be an experience of Him up close...so very close. He wants and needs this too from you and from me. He is so sensitive.
Yes, what works at home is what works on the road. We humans desperately need stability and normalcy. He is that. The YMCA cant do that, nor can the post office or the local bank, or the familiarity of all we see day after day after day. He is our stability. Travel causes me to want and experience Him more and more. Being home makes me appreciate all He has provided in all the little things a loved one provides. Familiararity is so important. Learning to find Him as my familiar friend so often is the result of real trial that causes real stretching. Its good to travel I tell myself … or is it not God Himself speaking into my hearts mind?
So this is what I remember as I count the days, hours and final minutes until the next travel engagement begins. Knowing where I am going, i.e. where He is taking me today.... is my home.
As I tell my acting students “home is the foundation that never changes. Yes, Jesus is Home...the same yesterday today and forever.” So we can change.........yesterday, today and forever.