Gazing out from the shore of Flathead Lake
How does the Spirit lead and guide me? How do I follow the Holy Spirit on my own journey?
Nestled in the northwestern-most corner of the state of Montana, Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp (FLBC) is in the midst of tall, jagged, snowy mountains and lays along the banks of a cool, clear, snowmelt fed lake. This lake is named Flathead Lake and it lays cradled in the basin of a great geological feature. A cradling bowl where water laps onto mountains and where mountains are pushed evermore upwards. Surrounding these shores are remnants of what used to blanket most of the western United States in hazy yet sharp colors of greenish-blue; the remnants that are miles and miles of untouched pineland forests.
Gazing out with a reflective eye at this mountainous, forested and watery precipice of FLBC’s lakeshore, it could almost be that time escapes itself. An elevated feeling that, like the breath of a pure wind, whisks me off to a distant time and place. Perhaps Lewis and Clark gazed upon this same image as they passed through this part of the country? Perhaps there is a Flathead, Kootenai or Blackfoot name for it?
Peering into the past, my own thoughts expand with the breathing in of the crisp fresh air and are elevated beyond a day’s doings. I feel closer to our living God, though her presence is ever beside me. She whispers untellable words of timeless wisdom into my ear with a flick of crisp wind. Chills are sent down my spine and goose bumps radiate to my arms and legs. These are thoughts and moments when the Spirit seems so close as it wraps around my body and soul like the softest knit woolen blanket. Stretching far into the distance are the great and mighty Mission mountains that scrape the Big Skies of eternity. This is a holy place for me.
Thinking of my encounters with the Spirit in Montana, which is now halfway around the globe, I am now keeping my finger on the pulse of where the Spirit is active currently in my life in South Africa. One such place is at the daycare center where I work in my home village of Masealama. The reason behind my thoughts on the Spirit and my work life in the village is because I may be pulled, physically or spiritually, in any one direction at any given time.
Every day I enter the gate of the Masealama Play Centre to be greeted energetically by the children I have come to know and adore over the past six months. Some mornings my mind is still too dull and hazy from sleep that I seldom realize the far-reaching meanings of such special and deeply spiritual moments. The children here lighten my mind for the day as they are seldom serious. From earlier posts in this blog, I am aware that I have repeated this story time and time again. Though I’ve told this story before, the play center where I work is so closely tied to my personal experience here in South Africa. I just can’t help but write about it. So much of the reflections I have splayed on this page about the community, province, and country I now live have been deeply bedded in the care and development of these little people. And what special little people they are.
There is always so much for me to do with my own body and mind in the care of these children. I can fetch wood in the nearby bush, get high-fives from the children, carry a crying baby, put that crying baby to sleep, feed that same baby its breakfast and lunch and afterwards change that baby’s diaper. I can think of how not to give favoritism to one or two children or limit my care in any way. I can be open to new ways of doing things such as how to cook food in a pot over a wood fire. I can be willing to do the most undesirable jobs, such as changing diapers. I can be polite and cordial despite being tired and having fatigue. I can always improve and delve deeper into this community of servant-leaders, the women workers at the crèche, and always try to improve my patience. I can always try harder not to expect thanks or praise for my work.
I can always try to be a more responsible, disciplined, intentional and caring disciple of Christ.