There are a few things that occurred in my childhood that I remember having a distinct impact on our quality of life. Growing up, I lived on a farm that must have been like 6 million acres big because it seemed to stretch on forever. We were an hour away from the closest grocery store and the closest neighbors were a few miles away. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols lived up our gravel road and on to the highway with a hint of civilization. (The Schwann’s truck stopped there once a month, which I thought was so cool!)
Our life on the farm was simple. Hard, but simple. From the time I can remember, we all had chores to do — every one that is except my little brother. But that’s another blog for another day. And at the end of the day we would all gather in the living room and watch television. Yes we all watched the same television, with three channels plus PBS as a bonus.
I was in sixth grade when we got a color television and a microwave. It was a big day. Collectively those two appliances must have weighed a ton. They were big and bulky but boy were we proud of them. They changed the way we ate and the way we relaxed. The TV even had a remote. For those of you who never had to get up and change a channel, you can’t appreciate just how much this changed the viewing experience.
I think I was in Junior High when we got our first VCR and talk about a revolution! No longer did you have to schedule your life around the entertainment opportunity the television provided. There was no more staying at home on Friday night at 8 pm to see who shot JR. No more were the classics held captive to the networks and their power to show them annually at their leisure. This meant movies like the Wizard of Oz could be taped and played, and then later purchased (without commercials), and watched whenever one’s heart desired.
Before then, each year I would get excited when CBS began their promotion of the Wizard of Oz. Released in 1939, the movie debuted on TV for the first time in 1956 and has been airing ever since. I especially loved the beginning of the movie and thought Dorothy somehow must be a little like me – since she grew up on a farm in Kansas (which even then I knew was worse than a farm in Missouri). On a deeper level, there was always something about Dorothy that intrigued me. In some ways I loved her – she was brave, she was an encouraging leader, she was a loyal friend who fought the forces of evil to achieve her goal. Plus, she could sing! I rooted for her. I wanted her to find her way home.
But there was and is something about Dorothy’s story that bothers me. When the Good Witch Glenda told Dorothy to seek the help of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy replied by asking how to find him. Glenda said all Dorothy needed to do was to follow the Yellow Brick Road. It sounded simple enough but as we all know, it was anything but. It was a difficult journey.
Dorothy’s journey home, via the Yellow Brick Road, isn’t all that different than our faith journey here on earth. Often we start out dreaming how we can use our talents and passion to take us from where we are to somewhere grand and purposeful. As we travel, we meet friends along the way – who, like ourselves, aren’t perfect and seem to be missing something in their lives. So they join us as we travel, seeking not the Wizard, but the guidance of our Heavenly Father. And despite knowing our source of wisdom, and the path to Him, (“I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6) the journey isn’t easy. It is filled with busyness, worldly distractions and conflict. And before we know it, we can become discouraged and feel isolated and alone – as if we are the Israelites wondering again in the desert.
God knew the road would be hard, which is why he’s given us tools like the promises of His word, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the strength of community. To celebrate these tools and encourage women in our VU family, we will be hosting our first VU Women’s Faith Retreat on August 28 and 29. Sorry guys, this is open to women only, which may exclude you – but it doesn’t exclude your wives. If they are interested, please have them email me at Robin.May@VU.com. For everyone else, please consider joining the other women at VU who are on this journey with you. Although our roads may look different or we may be at different spots on our travels, the journey wasn’t meant for us to go alone.
Join us for a relaxing and encouraging (in-town) getaway designed to help you reconnect to your dreams, discover how those dreams impact those around us, and refocus on our true home that our heart longs for.
To sign up log on to VU Central, and then go to Enhance U. From there, search for 2015 Women’s Retreat. The cost is $25 per person, which covers accommodations, meals and a group service project. Scholarships are available. Space is limited to the first 50 women so sign up today!