Drive in circles. Round and round. Airport’s long-term parking lot finally found. Park the car. Write down the parking space number so that I will remember where my car is upon my trip back. Hop on the shuttle bus to the terminal. Hop off the shuttle bus. Weave my way through the long lines. Check in. Check bag. Check. It’s done.
Now take off shoes, take out laptop, turn on cell phone, place in bins. Go through airport security. Put shoes back on. Double check that all my belongings are out of the bins and are once again in my possession. Find some coffee. Rush off to gate.
Almost there…almost there.
Pick up pace. Time is ticking. Mind is racing. Nothing noteworthy to share. Just racing with mindless clutter. Pace picks up, time ticks on, mind continues racing…faster, faster.
Almost there…yes, almost there.
Slam on brakes. Screeching halt. What is this?
Rocking chairs. The kind you would find on an old farmhouse porch; not in an airport terminal. But there they are. Rocking chairs lined up in a row begging for busy travelers to stop and rest. There they are. Lined up in a row—empty.
Rocking chairs. The kind that makes me remember a simpler way of life that a family of faith in a little white church invited me to be part of years ago.
The kind I remember sitting in while sipping a root beer float well-renowned in the village and beyond, lovingly made by the elderly hands of a farmer’s wife/potter/artist/one amazing woman.
The kind in which I ate melting ice cream over a just-out-of-the-oven berry cobbler.
The kind in which I heard stories of the years when crops were good and the years they were not so good.
The kind in which a long-retired farmer and I would simply sit and listen to the rustling of cornstalks in the hot summer wind.
The kind that invited confession as painful secrets were shared. The kind that granted assurance of pardon as old misunderstandings were rocked away.
The kind I would sit in every night on my very own country porch listening to peepers and watching fireflies light up the sky. The kind I would sit in crying my tears to God. The kind I would sit in singing my praises to God. The kind I would sit in wondering how it was that God led me to this way of life—to my heart’s desire.
Rocking chairs in an airport. Empty.
They’re preaching an important message, but the message is falling on the deaf ears of travelers only concerned with getting to their next “almost there.” But no one seems to stop long enough to look around and ask, “Where exactly is the ‘there’ I’m going to?”
I hear the message, though. I hear it loud and clearly.
Time IS ticking. Slow your pace and ease your mind.
The rocking chair beckons. I sit and I rock. The movement is soothing. My rushed breathing slows. I close my eyes.
Peace that has been missing like a suitcase stuck in some proverbial airport baggage purgatory, reclaims its owner. Peace reclaims me.
Back and forth I rock.
All of a sudden I am sipping that famous root beer float. I taste the berry cobbler once again. I know exactly where those berries were hand-picked. I was there. I have the berry stained shirt still. I hear now the rustling of the cornstalks drowning out the airport noise around me. I see the weathered face of that dear long-retired farmer. I notice his cataract-clouded eyes gazing longingly for glimpses of days gone by. I join him in that search.
I search. I rock.
I rock. I search.
The rocking chair’s sermon is being preached.
Time IS ticking. Slow your pace and ease your mind. Almost there. Yes, almost to the ‘there’ I want to be.
It’s the place where my shattered heart was lovingly pieced together by a precious gift called God’s grace. It’s the place where my steps began to move in sync with that of the Holy Spirit. It’s the place where divine fellowship was shared in the guise of a root beer float and berry cobbler. It’s the place where a rocking chair on a country porch waits for me to come home to. For me to sit and pray awhile.