Living in Kampen
There are moments in life where you are struck my amazement. Life can regularly become ordinary and 'oh hum'. We get up and do our thing. We have a routine, not taking the time to appreciate the world around us. Then there are those moments where you are stopped in your tracks. It often happens when you are pulled out of your regular routine and made to do something or be somewhere that is unfamiliar. I often push against those moments. I don't like being placed in unknown situations. I like the rhythm of 'normal' life. Yet, as I sit down to write my weekly blog, I find myself in a remarkably different place and with a strikingly different schedule.
Today and for the rest of this month, I find myself writing from Kampen in the Netherlands. It has caught me off guard just how much this place has affected me. As I was walk around the city, houses and structures from the 1400s and older surround me. I walk into the University where I am studying for the month and I am brought into fellowship in over 100 years of church history. I meander through the buildings and the library, and I am quite literally walking in the footsteps of one of my heroes of the faith, Herman Bavinck. Honestly, it is all a bit overwhelming.
I laugh at the embarrassment of riches that I have received in the last year. Our family moved to Edinburgh, a city with a rich history and teeming with stories to tell. We have visited London and St. Andrews. Today I sit in the Netherlands, and by the time I go home I will have at the very least gone to Amsterdam, and probably Leiden and other towns. The funny thing, however, is that all these places can quickly become 'oh hum'. They no longer have an impact because it is just where you live.
What do we do to regain that sense of wonder in the world? I think some of it is just looking up and around. This reminds of living in Bogota. Bogota is situated in a valley surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Every morning I would wake up to the sun rising over the mountains. There were days when I would wake up and look in awe at these massive green mountains in front me. When we lived in Tennessee, the fireflies on a late spring early summer evening always made me marvel. The drives from Tennessee to Wisconsin through Kentucky could take your breath away if you were looking for it.
Our 'normal life' can dull our senses of the divine. We can miss the theatre of God in nature. This month, as I walk through Kampen and the Netherlands, I am going to try to look up and around. I encourage you to do the same thing wherever you find yourself this week.