Living Outside of the Time and Space Continuum

Sometimes 24 hours can feel like a cold glass of water on a hot summers day.

IMG_9542For instance, before we arrived in Nashville, TN, Sylvia (our traveler from Green Bay, WI) mentioned that she knew a family in town and a few texts later we were invited over for a home cooked meal.  We made our way to the far east side of town to the Young family home. Steve, his wife Laura, daughter Audrey, and a few other young people all welcomed us. They shared their love for music and how they were in Mexico on mission for 15 years and how they transitioned 4 years ago to Nashville. Later Steve brought out the guitars and we all had a go round. Rhys (our traveler from Australia) especially shocked everyone with a fantastic song, offering us all a chance to chant along with him as he “Oh oh oh oh oh’d.”

Jeni's IcecreamThe next day, we wanted to offer our fellow travelers a taste of the local fare, so Jeni’s Ice cream was a top priority, then later we would head downtown for “Live on the Green,” a free concert featuring the band, Head and the Heart. We arrived at Jeni’s and made for the counter to try all of the exotic flavors, things like; Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Wild Berry Lavender and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries. You really can’t go wrong with any flavor but the best part of going to Jeni’s is the tasting before you commit. All six of us were dominating the counter and I glanced over and saw a couple waiting patiently. I invited them to get in on the tasting and soon after they were requesting Jeni’s unique flavors. At one point, I asked the lady how her “Black Coffee” sample tasted. She took a lick, smiled, said it was fantastic and handed it to me to taste. At first, I hesitated as she had licked the spoon just prior but then I shrugged my shoulders and took the spoon from her hand and I ate it. It tasted great but I was so curious about the interaction. It felt right, like family but she was a total stranger. She smiled and went back to tasting. I convinced her to get the Bangkok Peanut and she and her husband sat down.

We finished ordering and when it came time to find a seat Craig and I naturally sat down by our new friends, Phil and Dawn. Within moments we were sharing in community. Phil had on a shirt with the “Mercy Ships” logo. We recognized it and began to ask him about his time with them. They spoke the same language as we did about life, faith and love. Our conversation probably only lasted about 30 minutes but the words of encouragement and understanding will last us a life time.  We sent them off with CD’s and quoted my Papa letting them know we’d see them again, ‘Here, There or in the Air.’ Later that evening, Dawn wrote an e-mail with an affirmation of financial blessing which totally caught us off guard.  She also told us of a group called Provision International and Thunder School who were living intentionally, serving the poor and sharing music in Nashville. She mentioned that they were serving a meal and we should go down and meet the community.

We were curious and decided to visit on our way down to the concert. We arrived and the students welcomed us, inviting us to sit in and enjoy the meal, meet the locals and serve alongside them. In a city where so many are struggling to make a name for themselves, it was a delight to see kinfolk committed to caring for their neighbors, meeting both physical and spiritual needs.

Nashville, TNEventually, we ended up making our way down to the concert which was jam-packed with about 20,000 people in the court-yard area. The band was lovely but the highlight of the night was sitting and sharing a moment with one of our Nashville/muso friends, Lauryn Peacock. We met Lauryn at Cornerstone Music festival in 2011 and have found kinship with her ever since. She is a compassionate, creative, thoughtful and beautiful woman. She is the kind of person you could sit by a campfire for hours with, solving all of the problems of the world and every time we see her we are encouraged.

If we could we would live outside of the time and space continuum. We would see no beginning and no end. Meaning that every mile we have traveled would have significance not because of the distance but because it leads us back to you. By eliminating time as a factor in friendship we would view every human being as our closest friend and love them like a brother/sister. It’s probably a little esoteric and nearly impossible but we carry a glimpse of this ideal into our everyday life and by doing so experience the most beautiful and divine interactions. I suppose time and space have its place in this world under heaven. However, for us it really only emphasis all the ways that we are connected in the span of a 24 hour period, minds blown!

Intentional Community

It does exist, on a real and organized level and for that we are thankful, however this last month of travels has been so different from those before and we are beginning to see intentional community in a different light. We have talked much about “Hidden Community” and this last month was a real testament to that idea.

To be learners and move into the beauty and mystery of those we are deeply connected to, to participate in relationship, without fear of condemnation or judgement, without expectation for return but with open hearts and minds, this is our definition of being intentional about community.

Over the last month we only had two stops in driveway’s, otherwise we were in RV, State and National Parks. It was lovely to experience the nature and quiet time, but there was also a perceived sense of  loneliness that came over us. However, as we look back on the month we begin to see this amazing tapestry of community, and although our time with each was short, over the whole, it was intense and we now see that our perception of loneliness was off. Maybe it was something else we were sensing, maybe it was just the uneasiness of moving into a new chapter.

This month we met and fell in love with the Jessup family, who opened up their home and lives to us on a Sunny Kentucky Wednesday. We shared engaging conversation over a bon fire with Ben and Marlena at Mammoth Cave National Park. We journeyed down to Nashville, where we neighbored with Lynette and Emily, had lunch with the lovely Thompson family, enjoyed Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream with Aaron Wilson, dinner and deep thoughts with Aimee Wilson, a rollicking night of music with the Insomniac Folklore crew. We also went to a potluck and jam at Sulpher Creek Organic Farms where a whole fantastic crew of  fellow ‘Cornerstoners’ converged, we had late night prayer with Laurel Heiss and Lauryn Peacock. We shared time with the Price family during our bus break down in Chattanooga. We shared a meal with Dustin and Marcia Price in the oldest farmhouse in Buncombe County.  In Lexington, Kentucky, we broke bread with the Gladding family, celebrated Banjo’s 12th birthday with the Brown family. We helped the Salmon’s with a little remodeling project and last night we played Viking Kubbs and shared a meal with the Crowley’s in Dayton, OH.

When we put it all together in writing we see, with greater perspective, the faithfulness of a creator with a fantastic knack for restoration and connection. We see that we are not alone and we look joyward to more opportunities to learn and move in the beauty and vastness of community.