I made a conscious decision to stop going to church. I love my pastor, but church just irritates me. I won’t go into that tirade again, I will spare you all the angst, but I have decided to spend my Sunday reading. I am consciously trying to read my bible and comment about what I have read every day. On Sundays, my goal is to read what I usually read but to also read a book. Today I read Donald Miller’s Through Painted Deserts, and I was pleasantly surprised by how deeply his writing touched me. I found myself hungering to drop all of my worldly belongings, hop into a VW Microbus, and travel the wild west in search of God. Now I am not so naive as to think that I can’t find God here in Muncie in the loud and siren plagued streets, because I find God here every day. Or [They] find me. When I was half-way through the book, I realized that I needed to go for a walk. Bec and I took our old bread and headed out to feed the ducks. We ended up walking for almost an hour and a half winding our way through Muncie, visiting some new businesses that we had read about in the paper and enjoying each other’s company as well as relishing the time outside in the somewhat urban beauty. We also took the time to reminisce about simpler lives and simpler times. Tonight’s venture was a far cry from last night’s Drag Show Fiasco (who ever heard of a drag show with two contestants?). The pleasure of being out instead of in, of walking instead of sitting, of thinking and talking instead of straining to see what may or may not be going on on the stage of a crowded and smokey bar, reminds me why I seek nature even in the constraints of the city. There is peace to be found walking down the sidewalks of a midwestern town. As we turned onto McCullough to finish the last leg of our journey this evening, after we gave up looking for Joe, I thought I saw a blue tent along the bank of the river. As we got closer to the place where I thought I saw the tent, I was shocked to see that there really was a family camping along the river. At first I thought they may have been a homeless family, but as I got closer I realized that this was a family on vacation. I wondered: who camps along the White River in Muncie? But then I took and minute and listened to the river flowing over the rocks, the crickets chirping, and the ducks preening and quacking, and I didn’t blame them . The calming sound almost drowned out the noise of the passing cars, and the smell of the campfire moved me almost to tears. God was here, even here on the banks of the White River, a block from Muncie Central and a world away from the wilderness. As I type this I am thinking about that family and how they are faring with the trains moving slowly and noisily over the tracks above them. The wheels squeak and grind on the rails, and the brakes grind to slow the hulking beast for its entrance into the city, but I can still smell the smoke from their campfire, and I wonder if they are sleepless like I am.
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