I am now flying over Lake Michigan for the second time today.  The first time was at 7 a.m. when departing Milwaukee for Minneapolis.  The second time (now) is three hours later as I am flying from Minneapolis toward Pittsburgh.  Trust me, I checked.  There are no direct flights from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh.  At least not on Delta.  And I think you are all well aware at this point of my desire not to find myself in the same platinum pickle I did last December.

I am one of those people who is not keen on having to fly backward in order to fly forward.  It feels like a waste of precious hours… including hours in which I could have been sleeping.  But as I stare out over the calm blue waters again, I realize it is the way of life in this world.  Three steps forward and two steps back.  Or three hundred miles West in order to go nine hundred miles East.  As I was reading in an old 1952 Commonweal article, “Art without crooked lines is unnatural art—inevitably inferior art.”  Apparently, there are no straight lines in nature.  So perhaps I should be consoled and rest assured it was mean to be this way.  Who doesn’t want their life to be a masterpiece?  Based on my current flight plan, mine might end up in the Louvre. 

And so I find myself over Lake Michigan now humming Wiyaala’s cover of Woyoye (originally recorded by the Ghanaian band Osibisa in 1971). Ever since Sr. Sarah Fairbanks introduced this song to me at the preaching symposium last month is has been a bit of an earworm for me, though in the most pleasant of ways.  “We will get there.  Heaven knows where we are going.  But I know we will.  Get there.” The lyrics make me more patient with the zigzag of life.  Being up in the air longer (without wifi I should add…. Shame on you, Delta) gives me more time to think, right?

A couple of things I’m thinking about. 

One, how lovely the last week has been.  I was able to visit Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA and Nashotah House in Nashotah, WI in order to do two workshops on my book Preaching with Children.  In between, I spoke about Redeeming Conflict at the Pastoral Study Days for the Archdiocese of Dubuque… which I wrongly assumed would be in Dubuque. It was not.  It was a good hour and a half away in Cedar Falls.  This added little adventure allowed me to make a pitstop at the farm in the middle of nowhere where Field of Dreams was filmed. There were no tall swaying stalks of corn at this time of year.  Still pretty cool to run around the bases.  And, I’m so grateful that the hours between these events allowed for some lovely visits with friends in the area, including Sr. Diane Kennedy, one of my great mentors in life who turned 90 last month.  Most recently, Diane was postulator for the cause of Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli.  If you don’t know who this is, it means you haven’t read very far in Redeeming Power yet.  Get the book and turn to chapter 4 now.

Two, I’m thinking about how full the next couple weeks are going to be.  I’ll be visiting northern New Hampshire and Cape Cod to work with colleagues from the United Methodist Church and then spend a week plus out in Montana with the good folks at the University of Providence in Great Falls.  I’ll be giving a public lecture there, I think on the evening of Sunday, June 2.  Friends in the vicinity, please come.  More details to follow.

Three, I am thinking about how to cajole a few more friends and family members to post a review of Redeeming Power on Amazon. This sounds like it could be a difficult and time consuming activity.  It is not. You just go here. You click right next to the stars where it says that seven people have so far reviewed the book. It will take you to the review page, where on the left it says “Review this product.”  Truly, one sentence is sufficient.  It will take a total of 90 seconds and would be quite helpful to me. Hmmm, what could I say to nudge people to do that???  Who will make my week?

Four, I am thinking about Apollos and Priscilla and Aquila.  They are the stars of the reading from Acts that I’m preaching on next week (May 11… Word.op.org) and I know so little about them.  Not that there is a lot to find out because what the Bible tells us about them is scant.  But I could find out more if the internet was working, Delta.  Just saying.  Well, I guess that will have to wait till the next newsletter.

Yes, those are the things I’m thinking about as we now prepare to land in Pittsburgh.  Thinking makes time go fast.  Continue zigzagging through life, my friends.  We are going.  Heaven knows where we are going.  But we know we will get there.  Make of it a brilliant work of art. 

(photo credit: Ksenia Kudelkina)