By: Staci Stallings
I think the line goes something like this. The man (played by James Earl Jones) steps out of the cornfield, come to play baseball. He looks around and says to Kevin Costner, “Is this Heaven?” To which Costner replies, “No, it’s Iowa.” The scene is from “Field of Dreams” (which is always a good theme for a movie), but I never really understood how true that statement was until I got here.
I’ve said several times since landing here, “If we ever run out of water in Texas, I’m moving to Iowa!” It is beautiful up here. I even made it across the massive-to-me bridge that took us from Illinois to Iowa over the dreaded Mississippi. (Dennis laughed at me the whole time as I was freaking out about crossing a bridge with steel support trusses above us. Trust me, we don’t have that kind of thing where I’m from, and it is more than a bit intimidating.)
The journey north yesterday along the Mississippi was another study in just how far does the Holy Spirit think I’m capable of going and just how much do I really trust Him. Let’s start here: I do NOT like water. However, I have to say that after you’ve been pretty much right next to a half mile span of it for 3 hours, you start to get just a little less afraid of dying because of the water, and a little more afraid of dying because of Dennis’s driving… just sayin’.
But truthfully, it is beautiful up here. For one thing, they have trees–real trees, BIG trees, lots of trees and many different kinds. Secondly, they have water. Lots of water. Standing in the fields kind of water (that’s really unheard of where I’m from). Lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, streams (and they have a specific name for each kind!) Plus, it’s cool and calm here–as opposed to 98 degrees with winds up to 55 miles an hour back home.
So when James Earl Jones says in the movie, “Is this heaven?” I’m thinking he was pretty spot on.
What fascinates me about this whole thing is how sneaky the Holy Spirit was to get me to even COME to this amazing state. First, He ever so quietly orchestrated an uncommon, completely out-of-the-blue friendship that I never saw coming. Then He drew two people together–my cousin and his soon to be bride–and put it on their hearts to get married here. He threw it all in a pot with timing that would snarl the best planners in the world, and said, “See, Staci, here’s why you should do something completely crazy like get on a plane by yourself, travel halfway across the country to a place you’ve never been before, stay with these people you’ve never met face-to-face… Now, you’re going to do it, right?”
Seems to me, that’s kind of what He does all the time in life (and mine more and more). “Peter, get out of the boat.” “Jonah, go to Ninevah.” “Paul, go… write…. live…. for Me.” What separates Peter, Jonah, and Paul from us is not some big, impressive thing they did. What too often separates us is they listened and did (eventually) what God was calling them to do although they had no map for how this would go or what would happen, or where they would end up. God said, “Go.” And they went.
So what is God telling you right now to “Go” about? Maybe it’s something simple like taking a class you’ve always wanted to take, or to try something you’ve always wanted to try. Or maybe it’s talking to someone or doing something or even leaving work early just to have a little time to live again. Whatever it is, do it. Stop questioning how it can work out or what will happen. Stop making excuses and saying, “Well, when ‘this’ happens, then…”
Do it. Roll your sleeves up, make that call, pack that suitcase, put in that application. Whatever it is, do it, and you will step out of your cornfield and ask like James and I now have, “Is this Heaven?”
And I guarantee, it will be as close as you can get here on earth!
One personal note to Dennis & Jane: Y’all are GREAT! I’ve loved the visit, the company, THE FOOD, the conversations, the hospitality, and everything else about my visit. God really does still make genuinely nice people, and now I know two more! Thanks for everything!