As we sat by the fire, I watched Him. Creator of the cosmos, whittling a stick. Equal parts awe and simplicity, grandeur and comfort. Choosing now to sit with me. And all I could think about, holding my open journal, was how many more important things He could be doing right now.
That’s when He paused, looked up and softly offered, “Why would I want to be anywhere else?” He raised an eyebrow and added, “And who’s to say I’m not?”
We’d been on the trail for a few days by then. I tried on several occasions to get intel from Papa – namely, where we were actually going. True, we were exploring The Restlands, but even explorers have a destination, right? Every time I asked if we were getting closer, Papa would look me in the eye, pause, and simply respond, “Could be.” Could be? Shouldn’t He know? If mystery were the currency of The Restlands, this land was flowing with milk and honey.
Conversations with Papa were like a song. He knew when to crescendo and when to rest. He listened happily to my musings on life, pointed out different beauties on the trail, and then left me to the sounds of nature and my own thoughts. It was effortless and kind. Even the silences felt safe. I didn’t ask a lot of questions the first few days, to be honest. I could have asked Him about the creation of all things or dinosaurs or what Mary and Joseph were like as parents. But I didn’t. Being with Him was more satisfying than knowing all the answers. So I let questions rise as they desired.
Each night Papa would set up a hammock for me amongst the trees and prepare a meal around the fire. I would pull out my journal, write about the day, and draw silly pictures – and He would whittle. Ever the carpenter. I would watch Him whittle for a while, and then He would watch me write. I knew He was watching. It sounds strange, but I could feel Him smiling while He did.
“Papa?” I looked up from my journal, noting His grin.
“This place – this Restlands. It’s supposed to help me rest, right?”
“That would be a very happy outcome, I would think, don’t you?”
“Yes, I mean after life on the road. It would be very nice to rest. It’s just that…” I stretched my leg, “it’s kind of a lot of work.”
He nodded, “What did you think rest was?”
“Less mileage. More hammock.”
He laughed, “I understand.”
“I guess. I don’t really know where you’re taking me – I’m sure it’s going to be great, can’t wait to see it – for real. I’m just not feeling super rested. Just being honest. But with all this trail time, I’ve been doing some soul searching, and I’ve sort of made a list.”
“A list?” He leaned forward, amused.
“Yeah. Uh. A list of things I think if we took care of – then I could rest.” I sat up straight ready to make my proposal.
“Oh, great. Me too.”
“You have a list too?”
“Sure do,” He put his wood down and folded His hands ready to listen, “But you first, what’s on your list?”
I slowly handed Him my journal.
He rested his chin in his hand and began to read the list then turn a page of the journal. Then another page. And then another. “Wow, this is quite a list, Scribe. You know you’ve got a few things down here more than once.”
“Yeah, I just figure we should really address those items. Get ‘em done real good, you know, Papa? Cause then I can really enter in – and enjoy all the resting. Get that Hebrews 4 rockin’ and rollin’ in my life, right?”
His mouth was open, but the corners were turned up. I think this was entertaining for Him.
“Good list, Scribe. I can understand why you want all of those things taken care of in your life – how it speaks of rest to you. My list is a bit shorter, would you be interested in hearing it? I didn’t write it down, hope that’s okay.” He handed my journal back to me.
“Oh, yes. Of course, Papa. A shorter list sounds amazing. Let me write this down.” I waited with pencil in hand.
He spoke. I wrote. And in a moment it was done. Papa’s To-Do list in the Restlands.
Know Him. Know me. Everything else was just details.
I crept into my hammock thinking of Papa’s list and took a deep breath. What had I signed up for? Papa hummed a tune by the fire, whittling away as slumber tucked me into another day’s end in the Restlands.
***UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018***
Enjoy the rest of The Restlands journey, when the story travels from blog to book. Fall 2018.