Along Highway 36 in the heart of Missouri was a small opening in the trees where a thin road stretched along a mossy pond.
I don’t remember the first time my family drove down that road which entered Lake Apollo, the neighborhood I have lived in since I was five, but I was often convinced Dad was going to accidentally drive right into that pond. Dad’s a deep thinker, and has a tendency to space out when he drives so when our wheels neared the edge of the pavement I prayed for an underwater car survival plan.
I have prayed for many survival plans over the years I’ve lived on Saturn Drive.
From surviving childhood to surviving parenthood, and from watching my parents survive marriage to surviving my own, living out every single day knowing it’s a gift even when it feels like a curse is what survival really is. Overall though, my life here has been so blessed.
That entrance to Lake Apollo closed down more than a decade ago and grass grows over the old road we once drove down daily. We get home now through a four way stop right next to the Walmart Supercenter, and it works because that’s the only place I go anyway. The kids and I sometimes ride our bikes to the edge of that pond—it’s still surrounded by beautiful houses, but now a “Do not Enter” sign is posted where I once played in the creek.
Many things have changed over the years.
When we first moved into Saturn, the house was quite different than it is now, because Mom and Dad were into home improvement. So, on Dad’s days off they’d just hack into the walls and move rooms around. In my dining room a random window is positioned halfway up the wall over where the kitchen sink once sat, because they moved the kitchen across the house. Half of the garage was turned into a living room, which then became a big laundry room, and once for about six months was a bedroom where my brother and I slept after he broke his knee in ninth grade.
My husband use to grumble about this every winter when he tried to put his old Mustang up for the season into the barely one car garage, but because Shawn fits right into the family, he instead built a four car, unattached garage, with a balcony and a side room where he can just sit and think.
And thus has been my life on Saturn Drive, wondering what the neighbors think when the banging and clanging starts happening again at the house on the corner. From my mom’s green house in the backyard where she planted tomatoes and lettuce (she sold them to local restaurants) and donned by the kids on my school bus as “the spaceship that landed in your backyard” to Shawn’s twelve foot flashing palm tree cemented in beside the pool, sometimes my life survival plan is to just hide behind the living room curtains.
That’s the thing with these people though, they always tend to bring smiles to people walking down the street—and that’s when I look up. God granted me people in my life who constantly challenge my worldview just by being themselves, and in the midst of it all I find Him over and over again.
As the neighborhood grew from a few streets to an entire solar system, the scenery on Saturn is ever evolving along with its cast of characters, but a few things never changed. Life happens here, and within that life is overwhelming grace. As the main character in this story, I have fearfully exposed myself in hopes that you will find God within the pages, because when we get down to our barest selves, He is at the core of who we are.