There is a calm, quiet river that flows past an old green-roofed chapel outside the town of Abingdon. An ancient tree grows from the bank, extending far over the cool waters – an excellent place for someone to climb out, relax, and ponder the day. Maybe cast a line in, see what you can catch. Little fishies gather beneath the outreached branches, scrambling for the tiny bugs that fall from the leaves, while the larger fish swim in the deep. The sun hits the water, the trees provide a cooling shade, and the occasional gnat buzzes in your ear. It’s a beautiful, natural, pleasant scene.
The white chapel, practically a century old, sits upon a slight hill, it’s empty bell-tower reaching into the summer sky. The quiet, calm river flows softly by. Examining the tree that reaches out over the waters and you’ll see evidence of many feet that have climbed out onto its trunk, full of excitement, preparing to leap out, falling through the air, splashing into the waters below.
Summer came this year – but the rain didn’t. The river, day by day, grew smaller and smaller. And as the waters flowed away and the heat evaporated it into the sky and refused to return it, the large river grew shallow. The flowing waters became slower and shallow, nearing stagnancy.
It’s the beginning of May and my first year of being a freshman in college comes to a close. I turned in all my papers, finished up all my exams and waved goodbye to my professors. Pack away the textbooks, push the notebooks under the bed, and relax to think about the next couple of months….summer.
You know, sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, and I guess…I usually don’t. (That includes right now.)
When you spend months talking with your friends, family and to God about this dream that you have, this vision of what you hope to be doing, where you could go, and how your near future will end up, and then when God says “okay here is your opportunity” – it usually isn’t really what you pictured. It sure wasn’t for me when it came to my dream for this summer.
For months Connor and I envisioned this summer a little differently. Imagined going to some place, some city far away from Abingdon, and living as “missionaries” (I hesitate to use that term). Just Christians, reaching out to a community and trying to live each day with a focus to spread the gospel. Yeah, definitely not there yet. Probably never will be. That’s beside the point.
Harlan certainly was not what I was imagining. But I am getting ahead of myself.