I received one of the most unexpected and therefore delightful gifts ever this past weekend.
God has been trying to show me something for some time now. Inviting me to a very big paradigm shift. It's such a big shift that I can honestly say that I see threads of it going back for more than nine years.
I have been very resistant for several reasons. I am the first born child of my family with all the typical leanings of a first born. It is a part of my personality to strive. Second, I live in the most productive and striving culture on the face of the planet. And lastly, I have lived in a church culture that teaches very little about our need for rest. That's a whole lot to overcome.
My awareness of all these things has been growing for almost a decade. In God's grace I have been able to see and understand more and more about words like, "Apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing." When I look back at the beginning of this journey and think about how absolutely confusing those words were to me, it brings me joy that there is more clarity than confusion at this point. This has truly been a point of life changing or life transforming work in my life.
So what happened this weekend, you ask?
I'll get to that in just a minute but need to explain a couple of lead in events first.
My Grandmother True was passionate about genealogy. You should have seen her basement. The correspondence and research she did was in volumes and with great passion. That was back in the 70's and 80's. So one night in the summer of 2010, I was bored and got on the internet to see if any of her research had made it on to the world wide web. Before I knew it almost two days had been eaten up with following lineage trails back on both my Grandmother True's line and and my Grandfather True's line. I can trace my lineage back to Amsterdam and England.
One of the lines that goes back to England is the Otis line. John Otis arrived to the New World with Rev Peter Hobart and other families in 1635. Each of the families received a land grant near Boston, Massachusetts. I had discovered over a year ago, that it was possible to see that land, as the street name has remained the same since that time. It is called Otis Hill Road. As a part of my internet investigation I pulled up Google maps and thought that it would be very cool to find that hill one day.
So fast forward to June of 2011 and I find out that I have been accepted to a training program that takes place at retreat center locations around the Boston area. So prior to first training weekend in August, I thought I'd like to extend my stay after one of the training sessions to find some of the historical locations that relate to my family story. I thought the best time to do that would be when I go back in June of 2012. I also thought this just because a group of rent a car together each time and I am not usually one of the drivers listed on the rental.
The first night Rebecca and I get into a conversation and I mention that I'd love to find Otis Hill at some point but don't plan to do anything about it on this particular trip.
Well Sunday morning I hear someone running up the stairs at full speed. We're supposed to be in silence until after breakfast when we begin our worship service with prayer. I hear someone knocking on each room door in the hallway. Eventually there is a knock at my door. I say come in. Rebecca opens the door and says very excitedly, "Cheri, you have to come right now. I have to take you to Otis Hill Road. I found it will getting my cup of Starbucks coffee." It was the most delightful unexpected gift. My heart started to pound a bit. We drove for only five minutes or so and there we were.
It was a bit surreal. Eleven generations ago, a family led by John and Margaret Otis left Barnstable, England with a group of Puritans and started their new lives in the New World. They are a part of my story. It was beautiful piece of property that is on Walton Cove, in Hingham Bay which borders Boston Harbor.
So why the title cease striving? Well, I've been learning how to do that. Learning to let the Lord bless me with unexpected gifts. He is very creative in how He demonstrates His love for each of us. In my case the timing of it all boggles my mind. Even though I had the information I did not feel compelled to make the discovery of this amazing place happen. That is new for me. In the past something that I longed for would have made me anxious until I got it accomplished. One thing led to another over 15 months or more and there I stood. I hope I never forget just how lovely that felt. It was a treat to see how much Rebecca enjoyed participating in the gift! She wasn't missing that all this was some kind of God thing happening! She kept saying things like I can't believe I remembered your families name. I can't believe I saw the little sign. Very fun!
I'm getting less and less interested in making anything happen in my own strength. Which is a very good thing since it is a complete waste of time!
Here's a few pics...