Tag Archives: Crossroads Farm

Where I Belong

“Maybe you’ve been away from your family for a long time, and you get to fly home tonight. They’ll pick you up at the airport, and it’s hard to find anything that compares to that joy of running into their arms.” The chapel speaker was talking about home and heaven this morning, and my mind started reeling, thinking of the glimpses of heaven God has granted me on this earth – the places in this life where I have found pockets of Home.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year – no, not Christmas. The wheels touching down on the tarmac, walking down the airplane stairs into the oppressive humidity and into the airport as quickly as possible, gulping in the familiar smoky air. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the bags, impatiently shifting from one foot to another. Finally crossing through the doors from baggage claim, seeing my Peruvian family after a year. Sprinting into their arms in a chaotic storm of Spanish, English, tears, and laughter. Sound kisses on cheeks, strong arms finally tangibly wrapped around me after a year of aching. Smiling so big my face could crack open, accepting the water bottle Zaida instantly has ready, and walking outside to board a motokar for the first time in so long. Home.

A left turn onto North Rd. after four and a half hours in the car. Rolling down the windows to inhale the Pure Michigan air. God’s country. Finally pulling into the cabin. That first step into Piatt Lake, the first view of the sunset. Black stillness on the footbridge, stars reflected in the water below. Worship in the Miracle Building sanctuary, the trek from the cabins to the sweet shop, sitting on the pontoon with my dad, Tuesday night bonfires, pizza at midnight with Kendra. Home.

Ian and Avery clamoring for space on my lap. Taking hundreds of goofy pictures on my phone and laptop, telling yet another story “when me and Avery and Ah-Ah and Bo Bo and Papa went to a farm.” Will smiling up at me from my arms. Avery growing sleepy and snuggling. Home.

Moody. Chicago. Sitting in my room talking to Molly. Walking the tunnels to CPO or the SDR. Answering phones at work. Sprawling on the floor with the girls on my floor. Taking the Brown Line. Lake Michigan. Walmart Express. Classes, finally knowing my way around Sweeting. Home.

Sitting on the couch in the living room, watching Julian Smith videos with Bo. Mom doing the dishes while we try to watch TV. Laying on my parents’ bed at night, just talking. Waking up in my basement room. Farrand-to-Irish-to-Vienna-to the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. Fields, whistling wind, getting the mail, walking to the church. The librarian knows me by name. Home.

Turning into the driveway on Cole Rd, knocking extra-loud so Nana and Papa hear it. The pink room. #inthecornfields. Lady sitting on my lap in the big chair. Country magazine, morning devotions, and making dinner. Seven minutes flat from the back door to Jocie’s front door. Advice from Papa. Walks around the Arboretum. Crossroads Farm. Home.

Coffee with a friend. Weekend visits. Laughing until it hurts. The kind of hugs that you melt into and feel instantly safe and sheltered by. Long car rides. Fall walks. Home.

I’ve been so blessed to catch glimpses of heaven, of Home, here on earth. The problem with all of these things, though, is that they end.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year is followed in a few short days by The Saddest Day of the Year. Back at the airport, the tears flow again, the arms cling again. Sobs wrack my body as a soundproof glass wall separates me from the people who have worked their way even more deeply into my heart.

Summer ends and I have to cross the Mackinaw Bridge again, this time in the southbound lane. I leave the small cousins to go back to school. I leave school and everything changes before I come back. My parents sell the house I grew up in and soon I will have no legal right to sleep in my childhood home. Lady dies unexpectedly, Nana doesn’t remember me, and the barn is being sold. There are no more walks around the Arb because I’m no longer friends with the person I walked with.

The last drop of coffee is gone and it’s time to leave the cafe. The weekend is over. Sheltering hugs end within two minutes at the most. Fall turns to winter.

And then the speaker says some of the most powerful words I’ve heard in a long time.

“When we trust Christ, our souls find home.”

All the glimpses of Home I’ve been given are but temporary. They’re like watching but a few seconds of a preview for the most epic movie to ever be released. They’re not meant to be my home, but to make my heart long for my true Home – with Christ.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

I Ran Away to the Cornfields this Weekend

Sometimes, I just need to escape the city

Visit my Papa Baker, drive into the driveway on Cole Rd.

Let Eugene the Cow lick my arm a couple of times,

crunch the leaves under my feet as I walk back in from the pasture.

Sometimes, I need to look at my childhood memories through fresh eyes

Remember how much I appreciate the open, quiet, rolling cornfields

Eat toast with fresh freezer jam, followed by a glass of fresh cow’s milk

Let the country air soothe my soul and calm my nerves.

Sometimes, it takes a three or four hour drive

The smell of the house on Cole Rd

A good cry with my grandpa by the grave of his loyal dog

A late night trip back from town, under the blazing country stars

A hug from Nana even though she’s not sure who I am

To remind me to relax, to breathe, to remember how great I’ve got it.

Sometimes, I just need to scream-laugh for hours at Jocie’s house

While ingesting half a can of spray whip cream

And watching people wrestle over cell phones

Before falling asleep whispering secrets with Maggie.

Sometimes, it’s just time to go

To drive back down M-49 just because I want to see the Student Center

To point out every significant place to the friends that came with me

Every family member’s house, every church and field and restaurant that bear some meaning

To watch my worlds collide in the most bizarre, beautiful manner

And remember that everything is gonna be okay

That God is sovereign

and good

No matter what.

Sometimes, I just need to go to the cornfields.

And so I do.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Story Time- Part One

I wish I could take you out for coffee.  I would sit with you on the back couch at Jilly Bean’s, sipping a blended vanilla chai.  I could talk for hours, telling you stories of the ministry, the county, and the kids who have stolen my heart.  We would share laughter and tears as I attempted to show you why I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Crossroads Farm and Hillsdale County.

I can’t, though.  Take you out for coffee, that is.  I’m only here four more days, and two of those will be spent on an overnight trip with my Bible study girls.  Every second is scheduled, and I’m determined to squeeze in as much relational time with my friends and family as humanly possible.  Let’s take a rain check on the physical coffee date, and instead I’ll tell you some stories via internet.  It’s not as good, but grab some coffee and settle in… this could take a while.  Bear with me as I try to communicate my heart, as I try to make you feel a fraction of the yanking this internship has done on the strings of my heart.

Story One: Cole

Let’s rewind to the first day of my internship.  I was packing up my stuff to take to our car wash when the office phone rang.  A boy named Cole*, 12 years old, needed a ride.  “I can be at the Student Center in 2 minutes,” he said. “I have to go! I only have to raise $50 more before I can go to camp!”  I told him I would take him, and sure enough, he showed up within two minutes.

We talked the entire way to Hillsdale.  Actually, I misspoke.  HE talked the entire way to Hillsdale.  In the 15 minutes it took us to drive to town, go through the McDonald’s drive-thru for dollar drinks, and pull into Rite-Aid, I had learned all about his family.  I don’t see my dad very much, he doesn’t really like me. He says I’m annoying. But he’s awesome! Really! He’s so awesome! He works at a car dealership and he said he’d come today. I hope he comes today. My mom’s getting remarried on Friday. The guy’s nice, but I don’t really like his kids. And I think we have to move. I’m excited for Hiawatha, are you?

The car wash started (and ended) very slowly, but before long, a huge red Ford truck pulled up.  It was already practically spotless, but the tinted window rolled down and a way-too-well-coiffed-for-this-county man said “Heard there was a car wash around here.”

“DAD!” yelled Cole.  A quick glance at his face confirmed my suspicions- his smile nearly wrapped around his head.  Suddenly, it was Cole’s car wash.  He started handing people towels and scrub brushes as he handed out orders. “You, do the windows. Zach- tires. TJ, get the bugs out of the front. But be careful! This is my dad’s truck!”

As our little team scrubbed the truck, Cole exchanged small-talk with his dad.  “Dad, I’ve almost raised all my camp money by myself.  Only $50 to go!”
“All by yourself, kid? Really?”
“Yeah, Dad, all by myself! I babysat and did car washes and I’m almost there!”
“That’s great, Cole. I’m proud of you, bud.”  This produced another megawatt grin from Cole, who quickly ducked to dry a hubcap.

When we finished, Cole dad handed Paul his camp donation and jumped in his truck.  As he started to pull away, he rolled down the window and yelled, “Love you, Cole. I’m so proud of you, son, I mean it. Have fun at camp!”  And I thought Cole’s first two smiles had been huge….

*name changed

Tagged , , ,