This is a picture of my “happy place”. Since we moved into our new home six months ago, it is my favorite room in the house. Only it’s not in the house. It’s our screened in porch. And I love it.
Most mornings I come out here to drink my coffee, read the paper and do my devotions. On the few occasions we’ve had rain this summer, I enjoy coming out here, protected from the elements, and watching it rain. When I’m grilling out on the patio, this offers a more comfortable respite from the scorching sun, especially when I turn on the ceiling fan.
We have a small backyard, but there is a large field behind us. I think they use to plant corn there, but this year it’s just weeds. But I don’t have to take care of it, so I don’t mind the weeds.
It’s very peaceful. But just to the west of the field, is 169 Highway. Because of the topography, you can’t see the highway. Because of the trees, you can’t hear the traffic as well in the summer as in the fall or spring, but there is still a heavy “hum” as a reminder that civilization is just on the other side.
So, even as I’m taking it easy, reading a book or just relaxing, I can hear the rumble of the tires. People traveling from Paola or points south into “town”, as we call it (anything north of us is “town”). People making their way south to the country from the city. Occasionally there’s a car horn or an emergency siren. But usually it’s just the steady hum of rubber on pavement.
As much as I love that porch, I know I can only stay here a little while. There is a world that awaits. There are voicemails to return, meetings to attend, emails to answer and sermons to write. I’d love to stay out on the porch, but the hum just beyond the field calls me to engage once again with the world.
Maybe it is just a little like when Peter, James and John joined Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. There they were allowed to witness Jesus in His divine glory, bookended by Moses & Elijah. It was such a majestic sight that Peter wanted to stay up there, on top of that mountain. But Jesus refused, insisting that they return from the mountain to the valley below—a valley full of selfish, sinful people. Who could blame Peter for wanting to maintain that mountaintop experience? But the ministry was not on the mountain, but in the valley.
I love the porch, but that is not where the bulk of ministry takes place. It happens in hospital rooms, and homes, and funeral parlors. It happens in the church and in the office.
So, rather than begrudge the fact that I must leave the porch in order to go into the world, I should just be grateful for a porch to which I can retire from time to time. But the hum on the other side of the field continually reminds me, it is just for a little while. There is work to be done.