Take Up Your Mat and Walk!

by Leslie Anderson, Salem Oregon

The Simple Life

We live in an area in which the far outer limits of Salem are close enough to touch. It’s rural, quaint and quiet. There are grapes growing, cows mooing, and the occasional donkey hee haw.

We can see coyotes and herons, and up on the hill from our house, we can see a tiny little historical church. It’s like a postcard. I’m never leaving, which is dangerous to day, but I’ll say I don’t plan to ever leave.

A few weeks ago, Jason and I were out and about in the small little community of Hopewell, which is about 7 minutes from our house. We had noticed a little store there before, but never taken the time to stop in. On that day, we decided to drop by and see just what was inside.

In a word, it’s an amazing little store. It’s called the Hopewell Hub, and they’ve got local artists crafts, fresh coffee, lavender and strawberry fresh lemonade, and it is truly like walking into a scene from a Hallmark movie.

They offer classes there too, everything from pottery to fermentation, and those things are all right in our interest areas, so it was a wonderful little find. I absolutely adore anything that is local, handmade or straight up granola. I mean, it is Oregon and me and my Birkenstock collection fit right in.

While we were there, I found the sign pictured above and I knew I had to have it. It’s such a sweet little simple sign and it really spoke to me. In addition, I love that it comes from a local artist and from this community that we call home.

Love Heals

These words are such a simple reminder that love does heal us. It doesn’t always erase the pain, grief and troubles of the world. It can’t remove fear or uncertainty, but it does indeed heal the soul and remind us that we aren’t alone in our wanderings.

Sometimes I forget that everyone is on a journey in life, and unfortunately, those journeys can take us to places that make us angry or lashing out due to the fear that’s underneath. There is so much of that right now, on all sides in all venues in life. It’s scary out there and I see so much pain and fear. I don’t want to let it consume me, I want to instead, live differently.

This sign hangs as a reminder in our home now of the life we are choosing to live. Choosing to move forward despite pain or challenges is exactly what we want and need to do. It’s a choice we are making daily, and sometimes hourly.

I also heard a message recently that reminded me of a similar principle of healing. It really spoke to me, and I don’t want to forget, so I’m documenting here so that when I stray off I can remember this.

We Are Free to Heal

“I tell you, take your mat and go home.”

mark 2:11

The scene was one in which a healing had taken place for a man, and Jesus is saying, now get up and move on. The man had a new chance to start over, and Jesus wanted him to get on with it. That’s exactly what I (and all of us) can benefit from.

When we’ve been delivered from troubles or healed in some way, it’s time to get on with it. The business of living is critical and there is only limited time to do just that.

It doesn’t mean ignoring what happened or that the healing may not come easily or instantaneously, but that it is possible. We can choose to take up our mats even when things aren’t perfect, and for me, that’s exactly what I need to do to live the full life that I’ve been given.

So with that said, taking up my mat is living the simple life that I’ve chosen, living in peace, continued healing, because isn’t life just a long process of healing anyway? It’s never over, because life isn’t easy, and those troubles keep coming. But so does the freedom and peace of healing love.

Thanks for reading along, I wrote this for myself, but if it encourages you too, I’m glad. Love, Leslie

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