One night last week I quite unexpectedly I found myself sitting in the middle of my rug, sorting through a bag of old letters. As I opened each one I was flooded with memories and emotion as I recalled the different seasons in which they were sent. Although they represented different moments in my life, they were all written to me in times of transition. Many of them were given to me the week that I left for Chile. Suddenly, as if a light bulb went off, I remembered that that very week was exactly seven years ago, nearly to the day.
Seven years ago I was leaving behind friends, family, culture, comfort, and the beautiful little life that I had built post-college to jump off the cliff into the great unknown. It was, for me, wild and risky. It was also, clear as day, the thing I had to do at that moment in my life. Everything inside me was saying go. I was so sure of being called and so scared all at the same time. It was as though I had been preparing for that step my entire life, yet somehow I was so… unprepared.
Three and a half years gone, three and a half years back. Although my dreams are different now, I often still feel like I’m there – peering over the cliff, trying to figure out what it is I was made to do, ready to jump when I hear the call. In that place, I think we often need to be reminded of who we are. Many times others can see in us more than we can see in ourselves. My friends’ words told me that I was brave and that I could do it. They told me that Jesus was behind and before me. They reflected to me who I had been and who I would be going forward. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy jumping off that cliff. I had Jesus with me and a whole slew of people to back me up.
I’m glad I found that old bag of letters.
As Anne of Green Gables would say, there’s always another bend in the road. As I crane my neck to see what’s ahead, as I dream and pray, cry out and press on, I’m so thankful I’m not doing it alone. The longer I travel on this earth the more I’m convinced that this figuring out is something we do all our lives. There might come a day when I’m in a place that seems a bit more me, but we’re still not really home, right? The longing and the tension are part of the party. And so we band together and march on, beating our drum and whistling our tune, holding up a banner for all to see. We remind each other that we are not alone and we are not crazy.
May we not forget it.