Well, I am officially in the process of turning the page in the book that is the journey of my life, to the next chapter. I am not sure what chapter of that book, I am on. Perhaps chapter 1 was birth and early childhood – chapter two was elementary school – chapter three was the adolescent years – chapter was perhaps college – chapter 5 was marriage and initiation into the “real world” – chapter 6 could be the birth of our first son, Jett – and now, I guess, this is chapter 7, uprooting and answering God’s call to serve in another place: Rogers, AR.
And I am here (though not fully, as my heart is still in Jonesboro with my wife and son – they’ll be joining me soon). I am here where the mountains are taller than the small slopes of Crowley’s Ridge. I am here where the love for College Athletics is as strong as it is anywhere in the country. I am here where 5 cities make up a little metropolis of sorts, known as Northwest Arkansas. I am here. And being here stikes me as odd and peculiar, because I have never been “here”. The only “here” I know is Jonesboro, AR. I love my hometown. I always will. I love it with its diverse people from every race and socio-economic and political tribe. I love the southern hospitality. I love that Jonesboro is firmly planted among rural communities that know what it means to live off the land and toil to live. I love my school history. I love my church family. I love my town. That town, Jonesboro, has always been “here” for me. Except brief spurts called “semesters” away at Harding University – I have always been rooted in Jonesboro.
But surprisingly, it comes quite natural. Its natural to know what to do once you are “here” – in Rogers. The first task is to plant roots. This is a new place, our new home. Homes need furniture. The furniture of family and home is people and relationships. I have been eager this week to go about the simple and shockingly natural task of getting to know people. I have met so many folks already that it causes me to reflect on the goodness of God in my life. The drive up here was sad. But I was alone in my car. Now I am here, and God has given us a home. A home that came furnished with loving relationships with people that are already connected to me, primarliy because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. What God has done, what he has been about, is forming a family. And today, I find deep Grace in the fact that I am grafted into that root, that tree, that vine. To be in the world with fellow sojourners on “The Way” is to be at home. As odd as it is to say, I am “here” whereever I am – thanks be to the grace and peace of God our redeemer.