If I were at home in Memphis, Tennessee, my Christmas tree would have morphed into an Epiphany bush on January 6. Stars and lights twinkling on the tree in the middle of my living room brighten up the long darkness of the winter nights and remind me of the wacky expedition of three wisemen who followed a star to an unknown place and child. Camels, deserts, stars, lights, and darkness are all good symbols of the wild, unpredictable, and sometimes bumpy ride I take with Jesus.
This year January 6 was different; my husband Andy and I took the tree down and packed all of the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany ornaments and symbols in boxes and carried them to the attic. At the same time we packed eleven FedEx boxes for shipment to our 2015 home in Colorado. Andy will be the interim pastor of a church for a year. I will be…well, I have no idea really. In 2014 I finished a book, promoted a book, and did a bunch of Praying in Color Workshops®. There are some workshops this year, but little other agenda, little sense of what “I’m supposed to do.”
The 1200-mile drive from Tennessee to Colorado was a feast for the eyes. From the spare beauty of the farmlands of Oklahoma and Kansas to the shocking appearance of snow-covered mountains in Colorado, every mile offered sometimes small, sometime dramatic variations on the landscape. The more miles we drove, the more the Thomas Merton prayer from his writings Thoughts in Solitude © Abbey of Gethsemani played in my mind and heart. I kept praying this portion of it:
“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you…. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.”
I found one of the six star ornaments I had brought with me to create a little Epiphany altar in our new home and hooked it onto the rearview mirror. It felt like an apt symbol for the journey.
Who knows where this Colorado jaunt will take me. Or where God will lead me. Or whether this is just a year of hibernation, a time to DO nothing. The star and the Merton prayer remind me that I do not need to know.