Way back in February Monica said to me, “Mark, as my gift to you for your 70th birthday and your retirement, after the dust has settled from all the planned activities, let’s get away – just the two of us – to see the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.”  Well, this past weekend the dust finally settled – at least a little bit – and we made the trip.  Thursday afternoon we drove to Florence, KY and checked into our hotel.  Friday we toured the Creation Museum.  Saturday morning, we checked out of our hotel and drove to the Ark Encounter.  That evening we drove a little farther south for a couple nights in Georgetown, KY.  Sunday afternoon we made a few stops on the bourbon trail in Lexington, and then returned home on Monday.
We had a great time.  The Creation Museum was much more enjoyable than we expected – and that was even with us missing their newest (and much acclaimed) exhibit on the origins of life.  Monica particularly enjoyed how they portrayed the biblical account.  I focused more on the scientific side of the presentation.  The Ark is HUGE!  While the Encounter was not quite what we were expecting, it too was an enjoyable experience. I had never really thought about the engineering that must have gone into the building of the Ark or the amount of work Noah and his family had to do taking care of the animals while they floated around!  The afternoon visiting a few distilleries (and actually touring one) was a real bonus.  And the weather for the entire trip could not have been better. 
Then, of course, it’s back to living life.  Tuesday and Thursday are our usual days with our granddaughters.  Wednesday afternoon was a visit with some old friends (two of which we have known since their youth).  In-between are the usual things like grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning, Circuit Visitor responsibilities, watching Heartland, etc.
All this leading up to a packed, sports-filled weekend.  This afternoon I hope to relax while watching the Tigers on TV.  Then tonight the Lions are at Lambeau – nice to have Friday morning free, so that I can try to stay awake all the way to the end of the game!  And then comes the conclusion of Miggy’s career.  We have tickets for the games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  Saturday’s TV is filled with baseball and football … and another social event.  All this and I have not even mentioned the start of the pre-season for the Wings!
As much as I enjoy all of this, there is still something good to say about routine.  With all of this traveling and socializing, my routines of exercising and reading suffer.  And my, how I miss them!  Also, I believe that if I am going to be able to keep enjoying all of the traveling and socializing over the long term, maintenance of the routine is mandatory.  The expressions “It feels so good to be back in our own bed” and “I need time to rest up from my vacation” are so true!  We are caught between two worlds … each one complimenting the other.
Now, some of you may be surprised by my listing of the “two worlds” – wondering why the spiritual is missing.  Well, actually, it is not.  I do not see the spiritual as a different “world”, but an essential part of both of those previously mentioned.  All too often we tend to compartmentalize our “faith life” as something separate from the rest of our living.  And, just as my legs suffer when my exercise routine falters, so does our faith (and life) when we separate our faith from our living of life.
Here are a few things that I find help me in this regard.  I have a regular prayer routine (or discipline) that fits nicely into the road time on road trips and the road time (walking/jogging) of my exercise routine – along with helping me fall asleep at the end of the day.  My twice-a-day (whether home or away) time of swallowing pills includes the intake of my spiritual vitamins (devotional readings).  And as a bookmark in the current novel I am reading (“The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towels), I have my daily Bible reading schedule.  It is amazing how all of these things complement one another … and help me when I am feeling caught between the worlds.  And, is there any better way to nap than by listening to someone read scripture to you or to a spiritually nurturing podcast? (I don’t think so)
The wonders of creation are ours to experience in both worlds – that of routine and that of in-between.  So are the wonders of our redemption and our sanctification.  And it is in recognizing this that our worlds are brought together in a joyous and healthy way – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever … to him who alone does great wonders … to him who by understanding made the heavens … to him who spread out the earth above the waters.  … It is he who remembered us in our low estate … and rescued us from our foes … who gives food to all flesh.  Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136)
I think that rather than being caught between two worlds I am being embraced by the one who gifts them both to me.  Yes, “his steadfast love does endure forever” … and in the midst of both worlds.  Who knows, I just might celebrate this tomorrow by mowing a lawn – which in these latter days of my life, praise God, is classified as “in-between” and not “routine”.

Caught between Two Worlds