I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to my kids again. Every night we cozy into our living room and read the homey pages of this book. Relishing in the simplicity. The happy, hard working simplicity of a family who loved well.
But as I read this book I feel sad. I know that, just like all great stories, this warm and inviting and seemingly perfect little life is going to be wracked with hardship that will go on and on until you can hardly stand it. I read about Charles and Caroline and their three little girls all snug in their winter cabin and I want to shout, “Stay there! Don’t leave your little haven, it is really going to be painful out there.” But they never listen.
But tonight I was struck with an epiphany. If they stayed in those Big Woods like I want them to and never answered the call to a greater adventure, would their story be sitting on the shelf in my living room? Would their lives be so compelling that millions of people would read about them for decades to come? Nope. And that is when I remembered something I once said. God is the God of all comfort but not the God of all comfortable. If he had intended us to be cozy all the time, we would become slugs. But he didn’t. He knows that we are stubborn children who need hard things to teach us good lessons. Do hard things.
Lately I am pondering about how living a good story plays out in my own life. I remember that often, in my journeys with my family I have thought about the Ingalls family. I wondered if Caroline (Ma) ever silently fumed at Charles (Pa) for carting their family away from safety and security and into misery and poverty in chase of a wanderlust dream. I wonder if Charles lay awake at night worrying about how he was going to make things work for his family when all of the odds were stacked against them. I wonder because I often second guess the choices Andrew and I have made in our journey with Jack. Should we have moved so far from home? Should we have done all of the things that felt right? The kids have had to sacrifice so much, we all did.
God called us to leave comfort behind and be travelers like the Ingalls family. Our journey started out to save our son’s life. But now it is morphing into a calling into something great. What is that? I don’t know but I feel that north wind blowing and smell the adventure in the air . Never telling what God is bringing our way. I can honestly say that if I step back and survey the past three years I truly could not have predicted any of this. It’s anyone’s guess what God is up to in his noble (though occasionally frustrating) story for our lives.
Not sure what I am saying tonight except that I am glad that people do hard things, they become themselves amplified. They shed the tight skins they wore too long and change into something better. Like a really painful metamorphasis. Like butterflies. When I watched the butterflies in our little bug catcher emerge from their chrystalis, I noticed that they had a moist red fluid on them that looked an awful like blood. It was strange to see something I typically associate with pain on a lovely creature at the beginning of it’s beauty.
God bless you all, dear readers, and don’t be afraid to leave those big woods.