Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where You Live....?

If you have followed me at all this summer (or in past summers) you know that we love to go to France every other summer for an extended vacation. We've been doing this since 2000. We love France. We love the landscape, the ancient architecture, the great breads, cheeses and wines. We love driving through the little roads up to the village in which we live.
But I'm sure there are some people here who do not see this area with the rose-tinted glasses I see it in. There are those who probably feel trapped in low-paying jobs, living in cramped conditions in a "backwater" village. There are probably many young people who can't wait to get out of here and on their own in a bigger city, with a job and a future.
When we talk to others as we wander around and they ask where we live and we say "Santa Barbara, California" the response is often "Oo-La-La! Santa Barbara!" They have seen the old TV series and know about our own natural beauty. Our good friends Yves and Marylene spent time with us in Santa Barbara last summer and consider it one of the most beautiful places on the earth and see this area of France as just normal.
And that's when it hit me: How do you see where you live: as normal, a privilege, a sentence, a burden, a beauty, an entitlement, or a calling? I thought about that for both France and Santa Barbara. Part of the beauty this place brings me is due to the release from responsibilities and the freedom to have every meal with Martha and no evening meetings! But I'm not called here. As I wrote in my journal...I'm not French in the slightest. I'm a visitor and a foreigner.
The deep beauty I find in California certainly is the weather and the ocean. But the deepest joy and beauty is the calling, the deep sense that God wants me to be a pastor here, now in this place. That sense of rightness about the calling brings beauty and privilege.


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