A commemoration of divine assistance. In Hebrew: stone of help.
Today’s a day to raise my Ebenezer. (mine Ebenezer?)
One year ago today, I left Chile. On this very night 365 days ago, I was sitting in a Santiago airport completely exhausted and and overwhelmed. I had spent the months, weeks, and days prior to that preparing, planning, saying goodbyes, packing my life into three suitcases, job searching, job finishing, sorting out paperwork, donating, cleaning out, crying, laughing, hugging and memorizing sights, sounds and smells.
There I was, sitting in an airport, not sure how I had gotten there.
Three years were coming to an end. Actually, I would say six years. It had been six years since I first visited the fascinatingly long country that reaches all the way down to the bottom of the world. It started out as a crush and we ended up moving in together. I was in a long-term relationship with this country and when it was time to end it, I knew it was time. That’s not to say that it didn’t come with it’s mixed bag of emotions, but in the end all I could feel was tired. The next day I would step off of an airplane into a season that had no name (except summer in Texas, which needs no name – it’s known by reputation only). The Chile years were so distinct but now… now I was stepping into nothing. I was starting over. Again.
And so this has been a year of building… and I will admit that I’m not great with building seasons.
Although I’m not an experienced outdoors-woman, I went on a camping trip this past November in order to be with friends and breathe fresh air for 24 hours. When we arrived, some of our group who had gone ahead were already putting up the tents. I loved sitting in my canvas folding chair, watching them put all those poles and things in some type of order that eventually held up vinyl walls and kept us safe from mosquitoes and grizzly bears. I realize that life isn’t like that camping trip, though; I don’t get to sit in a folding chair while someone else puts it all together. I have to figure out where all those weird-shaped things go and how they fit together, and that takes time.
There are some odd pieces that I picked up in Chile – where will they fit? What about these that I’ve had for a long time? And the new pieces? The ones that I don’t even have yet? I suppose this is not a quick project. *sigh* I guess I’ll commit to it.
I don’t feel like I’ve built much, but if I step back and take a look I must say that there’s been progress. I’m not where I was a year ago and I’m thankful for that (although I do love airports – they make for the best people watching). I’m not sure I see a shape yet, but I’m trying different fits and putting pieces together. I’m sure when it does take on more form it will surprise me. With each passing year of life, I tend to be more amazed at how things haven’t ended up as I imagined they would. Perhaps that’s part of it all, though. Unlike the tents, there’s no sketch showing me what it’s all supposed to look like. Maybe the magic is in the dreaming it up. Perhaps I should start dreaming a little more.
So here’s what I know after a year: I haven’t even scratched the surface of this new and yet-to-be-named season. God is still good. Houston summers are hot. Old friends are wonderful. New friends are wonderful. Sisters are great on Skype but exponentially better under the same roof. Good neighbors are a gift. Some pieces may not ever fit and I’ve got to be okay with that. Grace, grace, heaps of grace. I’m not patient but I’m working on it. Mexican food really is as good as I remembered it. There’s hope at the end of the day.
I think this is worth remembering… and even celebrating. One year. We made it!
Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—”the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
—1 Samuel 7:12
He has. And he will. Amen.