This last week I submitted an application to participate in a faith and writing conference at the end of September, which meant that instead of writing new content to share with you wonderful people, I was sifting through hundreds of posts and tens of thousands of words for the perfect 2,000 words to offer as my writing sample. *
I love rereading old journals, little notes I’ve written to myself over the years, and notes of encouragement from others, but I find I rarely reread my blog posts. It’s just not as fun to cozy up with my laptop as it is to unfurl a battered, well-loved journal sprawled with hopes and dreams and rants and prayers.
But these posts are the same, a chronicle of my hopes and dreams and rants and prayers.
It was good for my soul to look back at the ways God has gifted me with words— not in the I’m-so-talented sense of that phrase, but in that sense that each blog post, each reflection, each whisper of words He’s given me to record and reflect on has been nothing but gift.
“Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.”
“I’m struck by the line “But there was no information, and so we continued.” Not “and yet” or “but” we continued. No, “and so.” There was no information, AND SO we continued.
That is not my usual response. On all my metaphorical camel clad pilgrimages, the darkness and the silence and the lack of clues and INFORMATION is a sign of failure, of defeat. A signal to turn back. To search harder. To turn the running streams and water-mills and old white horses into a divine code that gestures to my success or my defeat.
I don’t often think to just keep going. To walk anyway. To trust anyway. To the Magnificent Star that first drew me out of my comfortable quarters so many distant miles back.
And so the Magi continue. And guess what, they arrive–“not a moment too soon.”
They arrive. We will arrive. I will arrive.
The darkness will end. The search for information will be satisfied with relationship, with a meeting of the Messiah.
I ask today for the courage to walk anyway. To trust anyway. To not be discouraged by the lack of information, but to rejoice in the hope of Who I will find.
And so I continue.”
I can’t help but think how apropos this post is today. With only two months until I hit my year mark of living abroad and have to decide—yet again—what the heck I want to do with my life based off of a startling lack of information and certainty, it’s a good challenge to be present, to be here, to continue, even when I don’t know what the future holds.
I don’t know where I’ll be living in two months. I don’t know what kind of job I want to look for back in the States. I don’t know if the Bible study I started here in Guatemala will grow deep enough roots in the next two months to continue in my absence. I don’t know if some incredible job opportunity or relationship opportunity or some other dazzling opportunity will be dangled in front of me that will convince me stay here in Guate longer than I had planned.
I don’t know where I’ll be living in two months.
And so I continue investing in the community I have here while staying connected to friends back home.
I don’t know what kind of job I want to look for back in the States.
And so I continue to give my best to the job I have here now.
I don’t know if the Bible study I started here in Guatemala will grow deep enough roots in the next two months to continue in my absence.
And so I continue praying for growth and connection. I continue inviting new people. I continue showing up every Friday night even when I want to give up or my Spanish feels inadequate or I’d rather go to pizza with my friends.
I don’t know if some incredible job opportunity or relationship opportunity or some other dazzling prospect will be dangled in front of me that will convince me stay here in Guate longer than I had planned.
And so I continue to pray and seek guidance. I continue to look for ways to give and serve and be here now.
If there’s anything that being in a foreign country has taught me, it’s that I don’t know a lot of things—or words or phrases or cultural subtleties. But I can continue anyways. I can find meaning anyways. I can find God anyways.
There’s a really popular song here in Guatemala called “Yo no sé mañana,” meaning basically, “I don’t know about tomorrow.”
And today it really, really feels like I don’t know about tomorrow. I don’t know what the next two months or the next two years will hold.
And so I continue. And I hope you will, too.
**I also had the pleasure of hosting two friends from San Diego, which filled my usual writing time with volcano hiking, crepe eating, Youtube video watching and general merriment making. Thanks for visiting, Frank and Kellie!