very first blog post. Having gone back to the beginning, two things struck deep within me. The first one was the reality of how long ago that was ... nearly 9 years ago. So many things have transpired in my life since then. When I began this online odyssey I was in a different neighborhood, with a different future in mind, and different views on what it would mean for me to be faithful in following God's call on my life. Our family portrait only had four faces and they were all in the same house. Now the portrait has 8, moving to 9 this next week, and we span 3 different locations and two different states with 1200 miles between us. I still don't spend any time in an office but that's because I know longer have one. I've gone from a 100 year old church with 4 buildings on 2 blocks to a church not yet birthed with no buildings and no idea which block we might really land on. The question of "how do I find myself here?" can be answered by a term that I have come up with lately, inspired by my new locale. It's actually a physical metaphor for a spiritual state of being that I can identify in my life. I call it "dodging Amazon".
Let me take the liberty of explaining this one. My new neighborhood has an overwhelming influence from that most prolific of online retailers, Amazon. I live within site of ground zero for their sprawling empire. Thousands of people wandering the streets of my neighborhood earn their livelihood from them. Dozens of area restaurants are finding fortune from them. They, the Amazon nation, are everywhere ... including every street, intersection, and crosswalk for blocks around. The stereotype is headphone and backpack clad, head down, smartphone led, food truck seeking, pack wanderers. This is probably unfair to some and possibly a bit exaggerating, but its accurate enough to cause anyone in a motorized vehicle to constantly be focused and ready to "dodge Amazon". They have this annoying habit of stepping out, often without warning, from the curb right in front of oncoming traffic. Sometimes it is with a slight nod or wave of thanks for yielding, and sometimes it is accompanied by a clueless expression. It occurred to me, a few weeks back, when the 1 millionth of them walked blindly in front of me causing a quick braking and even quicker stream of mental adjectives, that I need to constantly be aware of the inevitable interruption of my life's flow. I have always tended to be, strived to be, longed to be, a point A to point B person. It's not necessarily the best way to live, but its my way and I like it. So when get into the car and head out, I'm wanting to mentally be 5 miles out. I can't do that here. I have to constantly be engaged in "dodging Amazon". Whether they are going to step out in front of me or not doesn't matter, because they are always there, and could be in front of me, disrupting my life at any intersection.
It occurred to me a few weeks back that this is exactly how I got here in the first place. I have been playing this game for years and have not really realized it. Every time that I get comfortable and looking 5 miles down the road, God has this annoying habit of stepping off the curb, and once again I'm snapped out of my stupor. If I'm wise, I'm going to yield. When I do, I often get to see the appreciative nod. If nothing else, I have been forced to become more aware of my surroundings.
This morning, pausing to look back where this all began, I can see the appreciative nod and realize once more that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Here's to many more years of "dodging Amazon."