Peace and love to you all.
There's not a ton going on right now, to be honest. There are tough days and tough nights and calm days and nights as well. Different things trigger different memories and thoughts and we are just taking them as they come. I know that updates have become sparser and that will get better, I promise. It's just...we're tired. All of us. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Even now, we're tired.
Tired and stuck. We want to move forward. We're trying to move forward. And there are times where we feel like we are, but it's kind of like trying to get a car moving after it's been stuck in mud (or deep snow). You find little moments of success but, overall, you're where you have been.
That feeling reminds me of a story. When my brother and I were little and still living in Fargo (the first time), our family took a trip across the state to Medora. If you don't know what that is, let me explain. It's a cute little tourist trap in western North Dakota with a huge Wild West musical and Teddy Roosevelt exhibits and everything. It's cheesy but I remember the trip fondly. Mostly.
See, because my brother and I were little, we needed to use the restroom frequently and found ourselves needing to avail ourselves of the facilities at a nearby gas station. It was not a high-quality station, to say the least, and the room was small and cramped but ultimately functional. We did our business and went to leave. Here's where we made a mistake. We had been taught practically since we were able to understand directions to shut off the light as you leave a room. (Note: this lesson has been soundly lost in our older age).
We did so and tried to open the door. It did not open. We tried again. No luck. A few more attempts and that creeping, crawling dread settled in our tiny stomachs. We were stuck. Not only that, we were stuck in a pitch-black room with no way to know where the light switch was. That was when panic ensued.
We started screaming and crying and banging on the door, hoping that someone would hear us. It felt like an eternity before we felt the door shift and get yanked open with tremendous force. We rushed out and into our parents' arms as they tried to calm us down. It was miserable and terrifying but a quick trip to the nearby dinosaur museum and a little plastic velociraptor later, I was right as rain.
That feeling of being trapped, stuck, helpless, and in the dark...that's where we are now. We are stuck in that room, banging on the door, crying out for God to help us. And He is coming. The door is shifting just a little. We won't be free and in His arms quite yet, but we're getting there. We have those moments of hope and light peering into the darkness to keep us going. We have to be patient, something that is not a strength of my family. But we know and continue to know that God will open that door and embrace us again.
I'll leave you with a saying that spoke to me.
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.