Saturday, August 16, 2008

Love on a lake

They don’t call ‘em Great Lakes for nothing.

A little less than twenty-four hours ago I got up out of my chair, got in the car, and with the kids, drove away from the Sunset Resort, a small, family-owned hotel where my family has vacationed for the last twenty-two summers. We had a week of perfectly beautiful days—clear blue skies, temperatures in the seventies, light breezes, welcoming water, and we left on a perfectly beautiful day, after breakfast, after an hour of sitting and gazing across tiny Figenschau Bay at the vast waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan beyond.

That view makes me feel larger somehow, makes me feel that more things are possible than I have imagined. Everything I see reaches up to the heavens and outward to the horizon and I feel certain that I can make something out of all that. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even finish the quilt whose colors come from this stretch of water, light, and sky.

Years ago, during a troubled family vacation at this place, words from the Psalms leapt to life in the sky and clouds around me. “Your steadfast love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens.” The Creator’s love extended from earth to heaven and wrapped around all I could see, comfortably, carefully holding me and mine though the future looked frightening and uncertain.

This year, the comfort and security of that view was addictive. I sat there in my wooden chair in the sun. I sat there while little bugs (no-see-ums) bit my arms. I sat there with books, with pen and paper, with knitting, and on that last day, yesterday, I sat there with my two sons, soaking up the peace, talking quietly. We talked of our future in that place, of returning next year and years after that. We talked a little of the immediate future here at home—the start of school, the demands, the plans, the progress to be made. Mostly we breathed in the view—the sand, the pines, the rocks, the water.

Today I can still feel it, even more than I can see it, stretching within me from shoulder to shoulder, deep in my lungs. But I may not be able to a week from now. Today I’m scraching those bug bites, doing the laundry, and putting off the details of replying to emails, of getting ready for Monday, of making a list of things to be accomplished between now and the start of school. It’s hard to reconcile the coming hours of meetings and nagging, petty details with the vision of life on a Great Lake. Hard to trade that landscape of lake and sky for offices and classrooms and people. Hard to imagine that somehow, that steadfast, reaching love of God that resides in the heavens, in God’s realm, can reach me back here at home and can reach through me to a troubled earth. Yet this will be my prayer—God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done.