Sometimes it opens onto stunning new vistas, and sometimes it leads down a hard road.
And sometimes all of those can happen in short order.
This past weekend I had the delightful opportunity to preach at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC: if you want to visit a church that knows how to do diversity and face the future in changing times, visit Calvary.
My son Samuel was with me, and we spent good quality time together in several of the Smithsonian museums, including the heady Udvar-Hazy Center out in Chantilly, Va., where we stood face-to-face with aircraft as small as a hang glider and as large as a Concorde; as common as a Piper Cub and as unforgettable as the Enola Gay, the shiny B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. And then there was a new addition … the space shuttle Discovery, still showing the wear and tear of its final flight.
Those things, and the terrific friends we visited, were the good parts, the open vistas.
But on the way up, there was the phone call telling me a long-time friend and member of my minister’s support group had died unexpectedly — and he was five years younger than I am. That has a way of putting a cloud into the day and engendering deep thought.
Then, on the way back, Samuel was logging some hours toward gaining his driver’s license when he learned a hard lesson about driving in heavy stop-and-go traffic on I-95 when it’s also raining like mad — and what happens to the nose of a Prius when it punches the rear bumper of a full-sized SUV, which only laughs.
I was able to drive it home, but it was dark and rainy most of the way, and the scenery wasn’t so uplifting.
But we learn from all of life, from the smiling days and the ones that show up with furrowed brow.
We learn and we adapt and we keep going and we feel thankful because, after all, we’re still alive and new days await, filled with possibility — as long as life happens.