The only thing I love more than going on vacation is coming home from vacation where our couch, bathtub, and pathelogically insane kittens wait eagerly for us to return so they can systematically ignore, snub and revile us. Nothing like coming home and feeling the love.
Despite the rather chilly reception waiting for us at home, Thanksgiving in Mendocino was spectacular. Long walks along the coastal headlands in crisp fall weather, browsing through the bookstore, starring up into a cloudless night sky and counting the shooting stars, purchasing a baking soda powered submarine at the toy store, Dana spotting a 20 dollar bill o the sidewalk only to donate it a few hours later to an animal shelter (another reason to love her as if there weren't already enough), eating a leisurely Thanksgiving dinner in our favorite restaurant, long soaks in the jacuzzi tub, flannel jammies and a bedroom fireplace, and talking with Dana about everything and nothing into the wee hours of the morning.
A quality weekend and all the more so compared to last year's Thanksgiving that arrived while Dana and I were walking through a time of disappointment in people and a wider church we had loved and respected only to have been betrayed and abandoned by them. (Blog Note: If that sounds overly-dramatic, it's only because there are times in all our lives when the most critically-acclaimed soap opera has nothing on us and if you don't know what I'm talking about then count your lucky stars, throw salt over your shoulder and spit three times into the palm of your hand post haste. Exit parenthesis at this time to resume original stream of consciousness.) Looking back over the year we've come through Dana and I found ourselves expressing genuine gratitude for what God has brought us out of and where God is taking us, wherever that might be. There's a passage in the Hebrew Scriptures, words spoken by Joseph to the brothers who had once abandoned him, selling him into slavery; "Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good." I thought about those words this weekend and while by no stretch of the imagination do I compare my life to that of Joseph's, I think I just might know what the my slave-turned-Egyptian-prince-of-a-brother meant when he said those words.
There was something else that awed me this weekend. The night sky. I was blown away by it. Not just by the dazzling sight of all the stars but by the idea of how humongous it all is; that there are lights in the sky from stars that don't exist, whose light has only just reached us here on this puny little planet even though the star turned to dust long ago, like the spot of light that lingers in your eyes long after the flash of the camera. And the expanse of the universe, one galaxy beyond another one beyond another one after that. God without beginning and end, space without limit or boundaries. Doesn't the whole notion of infinite and eternal just rattle your brain on occasion? I love, I mean really wildly love how little it is that we know. Who needs to read reformulated stale mysteries when we're living right in the middle of the most incredible mystery of all!
So. While I was spending a relaxing, and apparently, mind-altering Thanksgiving weekend in Mendocino with Dana, she, and you well know to whom I'm referring, was diabolically and systematically plotting how to make me suffer until I begged for mercy. Today I came close and in doing so I learned something important about myself and it is this; my breaking point, the moment I will morph from complete composure into a drooling, whimpering mess of a human being is somewhere just after 3 sets of 25 crunches. I don't know the exact moment because I didn't reach it. I only know I was teetering precariously on its' edge.
Apples and oranges you say but I assure you that my pontifications over the universe are not as unrelated to core training as you might first imagine because there is an interconnection between them that has led to a heightened self-awareness. It is this. I prefer mystery over misery and stars over sweat. Hands down.