Sunday, March 18, 2012
So, here we are. I've been living in the big apple for a month and a half now. It seems as though time is flying by. It kind of feels like I'm walking on one of those horizontal escalator things you see in airports. You know? You walk normal pace but since the floor is moving you're walking like double speed. Yeah, thats what its like. But the adventure my horizontal escalator had me on this past week was a wonderful one. I had a good friend here. Let me tell you a little about him so what I say after will be in context. We had done ministry together for a few years. He came on to my team as a green, wide-eyed freshman. He was mature for his age, curious and bold but young. He was just what our team needed. I haven't spent much time with him since this past May since I moved away but he was still a dear person to me. Now he is even more mature and wise to the ways of his Maker, is passionately seeking His wisdom and still bold, but not so young. I have been able to see this transformation that God is working in him and its such a blessing. Having my friend here was so great for so many reasons. Because he is who he is in Christ it was good to have him see my new life and affirm that I'm walking the right path. We had great conversation that was glorifying AND fun. But for me the visit was about more than just him, my dear friend. It was like having a little piece of home here in my new city. I have been separated for such a short time but since I'm on my escalator it seems like a lifetime. He served as a reminder of the wonderful things I left behind. It reminded me that there are people back home that know me, my mess and my sin and still choose to be my friend, and not only be my friend but love me in spite of myself. It was a reminder of the blessing that God made of my community and a reminder of what to strive for in my new world of relationships. Him leaving was a hard thing, again, for more reasons than just himself. When he left he not only took my friend, he took the window to my old world, my piece of home and my comfort of what home represents to me. It was hard to have that leave. I didn't want to let him take that away. As I walked away from the train station to the subway it took all that I had not to cry in front of the wide range of characters you find the subways at 1am on Friday. Only a few tears betrayed me and I had already reached the track so the only ones who took notice were the rails and few pieces of garbage. But really, home never does go away. It never disappears, I think. Home makes its place in your heart and as far away as you can go, home is there. For the first day or so after my piece of home and my friend left it was a sad time. I was constantly reminded of everything I loved and missed, of what makes home Home. I had become pretty good at not thinking about home so I wouldn't be sad. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make that go away. I kept thinking how much I just wanted to go back home. But in that, I was also aware that to step away from where I am would mean that I was stepping away from the utmost and highest he has for me right now. That is not something I care to step away from. Like Moses in the desert, I fight for my attitude to be that of his. That the desert with God is better than the promised land with out him. Not that if I go home I would be exiled but I know that that is not the plan right now. I set out today to reconcile those feelings. To figure out how to make it through this weird transition time of missing my Home and desiring His highest for me. I took a bit of hike to a coffee shop to listen to a sermon, read a book and just reflect. The sermon was wonderful, as it usually is. Thank you Matt Carter for following the heart of Jesus. I picked up where I left off in the book, "Out of Solitude" by Henri Nouwen that I have been talking about and of course it was perfect. He opens with John 16 where Jesus is telling his disciples that he is living in a short amount of time but will return again in a short time and he continues to discuss with his beloveds what this all means and could look like. Nouwen was discussing expectation and what it means to expect in patience and in joy. He talks about those who "expect joy to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of a new life in the center of the old, that those who look forward to the returning of the Lord can discover him already in their midst...Expectation brings joy to the center of our sadness and the loved one to the heart of our longings. The one who stayed with us in the past will return to us in the future becomes present to us in that precious moment in which memory and hope touch each other. At that moment we can realize that we can only expect someone because he has already touched us." He also uses a story of a friend leaving home and the friend says "if the good-bye wasn't painful, the hello cannot be joyful either." Man, there is so much to unpack in all this. We will start with my friend...Its ok for me to be sad he is leaving because that means that he is good in my life. I can be sad at the leaving of the representation of home because Home = good. And if hurts to watch those leave then coming home again will be oh-sooooooo-good. I cannot wait to come home. The pain of the absence truly does tell me how much value it has in my life. I am glad to have something that good even if it hurts to be away. Now, for the other part, the "how can I reconcile the missing the old with the coming of new." I found peace again today after a day or two of unsettledness. I am reminded that I have seen what is good and can look forward to the returning of that in my life wherever I am. I can hold onto the memories of the work that He was doing in my life with Hope of his continuing work and plans. I am so excited to continue my life expecting the joy of Christ with patience that knows its worth it to wait. I pray that I can hold onto these truths. I do certainly apologize for the length of this silly thing, but condensing isn't always my forte. Forgive me?