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The Extra Mile(s)

By Mike Mccauley on
Mike Mccauley
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Aug 18 in Musings
Greetings! I just returned from three weeks of vacation, and I’m proud to say I accomplished my main goal- I never put on a pair of long pants! Anne and I flew up to the Pacific Northwest and started our time with a week at a quiet cabin on Vashon Island, a 15-minute ferry ride out of Seattle. It was a great way to begin. It took me a couple days ro realize how much I needed a break from the city. Big cities have a way of quietly bearing down on you, and Los Angeles is no exception. Sitting on a scenic Puget Sound dock reading good books, running, biking and taking walks on the beach fed the deepest part of my soul.
Then we hopped in the car and started a week-long drive of 1,123 miles. I counted. We enjoy road trips, generally, and we had set this one up with a fair degree of intentionality.  One bonus was that we were in some of the most beautiful areas in the entire country, but the main point of it was to be with people. I was reminded that friendships require intentionality. That seems obvious, but it is something I continue to learn. Anne is better at it than I am, and I pick up a lot by watching her. Having moved all around the U.S. in the last 25 years, our friends and family are spread all over.  It’s impossible to have huge quantities of time with everyone. In order to keep friendships alive, intentionality is vital.  An occasional long phone call. Spontaneous text messages. Regular email conversations. I even have a few people who exchange letters with me- yes, pen and paper, handwritten letters. But nothing replaces face to face interaction.

So we headed east from Seattle, driving the North Cascade highway and dropping down into Leavenworth, WA. We met longtime friends there for two days of biking, hiking and conversation in that fertile orchard region, surrounded by tall mountains. Then it was on to Spokane, where we had lunch with lifelong friends from high school. We spent that evening and night with close friends (a former Associate Pastor of mine, his wife and family). The next morning we continued our eastward migration with a long drive to gorgeous Flathead Lake, Montana for some rich time with an older mentor couple. Then it was down to central Idaho, to stay with my sister and family who live in a small town at the bottom of a canyon, with rolling farmland just up the hill. And finally, we looped back to Seattle for time with our family, including all three kids.

We had less time with each of these dear people than we wanted, always wishing
we could stay longer. We were encouraged by their faith journeys, shared current struggles, laughed over old stories and prayed our goodbyes. At every stop we felt renewed and filled with gratitude for friendships that have stretched over many years and through diverse circumstances. Proverbs 17 says “a friend loves at all times.”  Part of loving is being intentional and sometimes it means going the extra mile(s). Even 1,123 of them.
See you soon,
            Pastor Dan
flathead lake
Vashon Island, Washington

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