So many of the people that turn on to Vantage Point Road are heading home. I continue to see so many of the same cars and faces making the turn ready to arrive home at the end of a long day, transporting their kids back and forth, and jetting off to the next destination. I hope a wave that comes through and is shared back serves as a kind of “welcome home” greeting, especially for any who may be feeling isolated or alone.
I squinted into the light vowing (yet again) that I would pack a visor for days such as this. I was able to manage using one hand to shield the sun while I waved with the other.
At one point a caretaker, likely a mom, arrived with a double stroller and a girl and boy, aged around 2 and 1. I felt like the neighborhood informer sharing with the mom about about the new huge playground that is under construction at Lake Kittamaqundi by the Whole Foods. “I’ve seen the diagram and it looks like it will be great!” At one point I shifted my stance: “Here, let me stand here to block the sun a bit.” This prevented the little boy from being blinded by the light. The little girl waved as the light changed and they made their way toward Wilde Lake.
It was good to be back today in the sunshine. Yesterday it was gray and slick. I felt particularly under the weather with a trip to the doctor. However, I could see as I drove by the corner that tree workers had been active throughout the day clearing out the deadwood from the corner hill and stacking it next to the bus stop. They pruned the trees, causing the thin winter pines to look particularly trim. I spy the Columbia Association hard at work often–just a few weeks ago clearing limbs across the road.
This clearing may seem like a minor, routine change in the landscape. But, I’ve definitely felt the shift in me over the weeks with a keener and keener eye for this crossroads. I find I look forward to seeing what is there and take great interest. What has changed? Even when the snow came recently, I noticed that there was a little bald patch of mud where the snow had melted first…the little spot where my boots are wearing a bit at the grass over time.
I guess this happens when we come to care for something. It may be rather unremarkable to some, certainly nothing to wave alongside–but I am attentive to its contours. The perch takes on the character all of the people who populate it and pass it.
Like the trees benefiting from their winter trimming, I feel like waving on the corner keeps clearing out the dead weight from my inner landscape, helping me to see ever deeper the gifts of creation–natural and manmade in this fixed spot of my community.
It is not lost on me that there is some risk involved. Standing out there in the elements in public view. Most importantly, I am constantly prayerful that all would be safe. One man’s yelling out at me today had me particularly introspective on this. But I can’t seem to shake this calling to this particular spot. I find that I am having to trust that there is still so much that I cannot yet see or understand about this call to the corner as I continue to wave.
Increasingly, as I my make my walk to the little patch of balding grass, I seem to hear the words of invitation: “Welcome Home.” And bit by bit, I find that Columbia grows on me as I invest in my work with my church and throughout the community. I have come to see the sacredness of even this one little stretch. And in turn, each day a new person, many persons, wave back or stop and chat on the journey. And as isolating as our travels may be at times to and fro, my calling seems to be to wave out: we are not alone. We are at home here.
Pastor | Kittamaqundi Community Church | Columbia, Maryland