Until we moved, I probably would have had a tough time finding Redlands on a map. I do not think I ever was in Redlands, except the few minutes while heading west on I-10. We were always headed somewhere past Redlands, never here. Even when we were looking for a home, I did not really know what was here. As it turns out, the pick was far more God driven than I ever imagined.
The lesson I will always take from Redlands is a simple one; slow down. Life seems to freeze when I am here. I can be busy and overwhelmed, yet the pool is always full of hope and happiness. I catch myself struggling with deadlines, demands, and stress, only to rediscover the soft yellow of the sunrise creeping on the hill or the fading sun across the western sky reminding me of the gentle values that shape the heart of your life and mine. Everything flows back into perspective when I let myself be present. It is a strange yet wonderful experience.
For a long time I wondered why. I find myself reshaped in the right ways by the relationships that are here. I also know I will always find the presence of the Spirit hovering in and among the trees and birds that call this home. There is a call to slow down, refocus, and rediscover. There is something special here.
In the midst of this peace I realize the truthfulness of God’s words. “You don't have to be in a hurry. You're not running from anybody! God is leading you out of here, and the God of Israel is also your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52.12) The words are true, no matter where one finds one’s self. The words are a warning and an invitation. The words also reflect a core part of our mission.
We are called to be part of something great. In all things, we can give others the gift of our attention. In all things, we can live with grace. In all things, we can walk with Hope.
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