Some of us are old enough to remember a song about the Boston subway system called the “M.T.A.” It bemoaned the fate of Charlie, who didn’t have the correct fare in order to exit the train. I knew the feeling as I ran into a series of travel glitches while trying to get home from a lengthy series of presentations this past weekend. “Will she ever return, oh will she ever return…?” was my own chorus of lament as I watched the airport monitors announce delays and missed connections. My husband sent a text that contained the secret to coping with my travel woes: “Go with the flow.” When life throws our plans out of whack, it’s the sanest way to travel.
Easter teaches us this lesson in spades. Consider the disciples who thought their lives and dreams were headed in one direction. A glimpse into an empty tomb threw their journey onto a whole new track. It would bring them face-to-face with Christ in new form and open up a world of possibilities. After their initial rush of exuberance and joy, they had to go with the flow of life in entirely new ways.
After twelve days on the road I am now reflecting on the people, places, and experiences I had over the course of my trip. Offering workshops and retreats, walking along bike trails and the winding paths of a retreat center, catching sight of snow in Michigan and palm trees in Florida, listening to stories of faith and family, ministry and mission, I have been given multiple moments of grace over the past week and a half.
In his book, The Awakened Heart, Gerald May refers to the practice of “little interior glances”, a contemplative way to view the world around us while we are in transit. These provide glimpses into time as it flows by – “…unadorned remembrances and happenings within the ordinary activities of our daily life” (pg. 134). Within the context of Easter, these small glimpses are often into seemingly empty spaces. Like the disciples on that first Easter morning, we are likely to find Christ in new ways that surprise, delight, and bring us a renewed vision of life.