An Old Wooden Arrow to Point the Way


Sometimes I find myself looking for a little more color in life.

For Mother’s Day, we made a trip to the small college town where my parents live. While there, we took a brief jaunt through campus and got to observe how university students cope with a beautiful day — when it falls on the eve of final exams. It was inspiring, really. Students were outdoors throwing neon-colored frisbees, rolling bowling balls down neat, orderly sidewalks, and sitting with friends under the soft shade of flowering trees. And if that wasn’t enough, we spotted rollerbladers sailing together, in pairs, like loving swans circling in the fresh breeze of a new season.

It was difficult not to be just a little jealous.

Because on our end of the universe, life looks very different. In our particular solar system, for example, regular life revolves around the blazing, fiery heat of a four year-old and a three year-old, seemingly separated by endless light years, though measured, technically, in just 13 months. In this world, we daily battle against the fluids of spilled milk and urine, as well as the solids of lost toy bugs and stolen Lego blocks. Furthermore, the sounds accompanying these events often erupt with the force of deadly astroids slamming into planets. This is everyday. This is life.

And it’s further complicated because Dad likes to orbit in his own selfish introversion, while Mom likes to revolve in an outward-facing extroversion. We often long for an alternate universe which transcends these daily, charted coordinates of time and space. Even just a place where we can hear ourselves think. But please understand: we absolutely love our children and our little celestial home. We wouldn’t exchange it for any other galaxy. But tucked away down in the heart, there’s always a hidden longing for an another home which encompasses the square footage of eternity with a little more precision.

Life just doesn’t spin as it should most days. It’s messy, noisy. Too busy. But that’s all right. These entanglements are necessary because they have a transcendent power to free us from selfishness and pride. It’s how grace works. And, truthfully, it’s our only shot at surviving in this universe.

But yesterday was special. You see, our closest family members live two hours away, but most of our family lives another 18 hours away. (Okay, add Chicago traffic.) Given our arrangement, we were especially grateful to have the opportunity to leave our kids with my parents for a few hours. And so we just left town, even without knowing where we were going.

While driving, however, we soon beheld an unexpected road-sign appear in the sky, shining with the brilliance of a rainbow. And my wife and I do not take rainbows lightly in life.

There, tucked away off the interstate, we found a quiet table to feed our spirits. There was even time, together, to savor a steaming café americano, a panini with melted Brie and apple slices, and a small creamy cup of frozen custard. Time slowed to the pace of laughing and gazing. In rare and simple moments like these, the colors of God’s promises touch me with a good and holy vibrance, reminding me that there is indeed a grace that transcends this messy and busy world.

Yesterday, I was just thankful that He used an old, wooden arrow to point the way.

3 thoughts on “An Old Wooden Arrow to Point the Way

  1. I enjoy your “words at play” in which the musing is often A-musing, and this post prompts a responsive word. I identify with the moments of “peace that passeth understanding” and those short spans of enjoyment which restore our souls – for which our family coined our own name: “mini-vacations.” And I identify with a counter part to the wooden sign in a place of peace that I believe we have shared with your maternal grandparents – in a patch of original Illinois woods named after the landowner “Funks
    Inside the grove, someone carved out a space called “Chapel of the Templed Trees” with a log for a pulpit and fallen parallel logs for pews and a wooden sign at its entrance which reads “I come here to find myself. It is so easy to get lost in the world.” Peace, perfect peace! How many letters did the apostle write that greeted the readers with his wish for “Grace and Peace”. May you and yours have an abundance of both.

    • This sounds like a beautiful and rare place of rest — not to mangle that with a “rest stop”. Someday I’d like to trek the mythology of Route 66, at least what still remains of it. I will keep this spot in mind. It appears to have a bit of family mythology attached already. I’m afraid we don’t have enough patches for rest in our modern landscape. We need to step outside our Wi-Fi zones from time to time. Everybody shares Wi-Fi these days. But to share the fullness of “Grace and Peace”, we need more than a subscription. We need a foundation in our lives which will transform our lives. I believe this sanctuary would be a good place to receive. Thanks for your note and your blessing.

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