I may live two days from any ocean, but I only need to drive two-and-a-half hours to find Lake Superior. When I stare at that vast silvery expanse of water and listen to waves crashing on the rocky shore my eyes and ears cannot tell ocean or lake apart.
I first glimpse Lake Superior as my car reaches the top of a hill that it doesn’t even know it is climbing. Suddenly, the land drops away, Duluth spreads out below me, and Lake Superior takes my eyes to the horizon. This is always my favorite part of the drive. It’s like arriving even though I may have an hour left of my trip.
On a recent weekend, I spent a few days staring at Lake Superior with a few of my favorite people thanks to the generosity of my in-law’s neighbors. A map of Lake Superior covered the wall in the dining area of our cottage. I couldn’t stop staring at it.
Lake Superior is so big!
I knew that. I knew that fact–it is the largest lake in the world, at least by surface area. But I guess I never before paid much attention to its largeness. This lake is embraced by Ontario, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. It has 1,826 miles of shoreline.[i] That’s 254 more miles than we traveled during our two-day drive from Minnesota to Florida.
I love Lake Superior. It is one of my favorite destinations. I spent my honeymoon at Lake Superior. However, as I stared at that map, I realized that I have only experienced a small, small slice of it–a 60-mile glimpse of its shoreline. That’s one hour of an over 24-hour drive.
The discrepancy between my experience of Lake Superior and its Reality stunned me this weekend. There is something to this fact that is Truth. There is something in this Truth that my soul needs to sit with for a while. Sometimes small truths hit you in your heart to remind you of a Big Truth that your soul needs.
There is so much more. Sure, there is more to Lake Superior, and it could be an awesome family vacation to explore its Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin shorelines. But sometimes I need to be reminded that my experience of life is so small. I’ve always lived within a 30-mile radius of where I grew up. Sometimes I need to be reminded that my experience of faith is just one small experience of many.
The vastness of the lake and the smallness of my experience does not take away any validity or truth or beauty of my Lake Superior experiences. There is just more. Sometimes I need the reminder.