Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Place to Belong

After four years of journeying to other countries, I came back to this one. But journeys change you, they are supposed to; and the once-familiar setting no longer held assumed safety or comfort. The once-common presumption of friendship no longer sustained the soul.

Journeys unravel the heart. Coming home made me see how frayed mine was. Home again, but not at rest; perhaps a prolonged jet lag, or a multi-layered culture shock, or a complex unravelling of threads—whatever the reasons, I barely moved, but my insides were churning. Months of swirling questions, spiralling defeats and disappointments, vortexes of frustration and fear of ultimate failure; I needed mooring. My parents threw me the rope they too gripped—faith in God, trusting that He is good, and does good, banking my life on His essential power. The cord held fast.

Weak and shaky, I ventured out again, following the Shepherd. He makes me lie down in green pastures. I did not want to lie down; I thought I should go, and was frustrated with myself because of my weakness and inability to rouse.

He leads me beside still waters. Nothing happened, nothing exciting, epic, grand. Life hummed quiet around me. I thought about the difference between resignation and resolution. I thought about living a beautiful life, not just a productive one. Healing flowed.

He restores my soul. I did not know it was so worn, so tarnished, so needy. But the longer I wander in this place, the more I need His mercy, the more I see my need. And His grace is enough.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake. This ebb of mercy flows quiet and sure: because it is not all about you, it is not all up to you. It’s not my story to tell, not my performance to mess up. I’m not the star; I’m just here to tell how good The Star really is.

Now, I’m not far from home, and that is a gift. There were years when long and thoughtful letters sustained and bound my heart to my parents. Now, I crave their embrace, and to hear their whispered prayers as they hold me on their shoulder.

Now, I’m not on my own, and that is a gift. A sister shares this ascent, and the laundry, and the dishes, and the rent bills. There is no more smugness that “I did it myself,” and no horror of utter failure, because we pick up after each other, and we lift each other’s sagging limbs.

And now, I belong. I’ve been welcomed into a troupe all heading the same direction. My crystal ideals shook and crashed during the voyage—but that’s okay, because they were cheap, and not worth keeping. While I was away, I saw treasures of true value, the potential of genuine relationships founded on Reality.

The journey made me see the beauty I left behind, and the glory of what lies ahead. The trip broke me, and brought me healing.

It is good to travel, and it is even better to go in company. To just belong, be “one of,” and listen and look for the Shepherd, Who goes before His flock, and leads them gently home.

“Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

This musing comes from the happiness of recently becoming a member of A Place Called Hope. http://www.aplacecalledhope.ca/

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