I flew into Louisville yesterday evening, and Ryan picked me up at the airport. I'm sitting here admiring our newly-painted dining room walls (I LOVE the red!) and thinking about everything that must be done here in Louisville, because this is where I live (duh). But getting home to Louisville and my husband and my dear little house on Camp Street meant leaving Toronto. Not that I have any particular attachement to that city, per se (I've seen the snow pictures, and it wasn't nearly warm enough for June, in my opinion)... but it meant leaving people I very much love, with no reunion time in sight. It's been a hard thing.
In some ways, I feel like I just moved all over again... most of you know that I have lived in Greenville and its environs for most of my life, attending the same church and so serving alongside, laughing with, knowing, being known and being loved by the same people for many many years. It's not just my childhood home, it's my high school home, my college town, my church home town, and my family's home. Sure, there are lots of painful memories, lots of old hurts and questions and people who STILL annoy me (and people whom I have always annoyed, lol), but that's just life! I still love it there! Packing up everything to marry a man I'd known a year was something I very gladly did (and will gladly do again and again and again!!!), but it did mean leaving everything else behind. Thankfully, I'd been here to Louisville before, and had started the integration process. I loved my new church already... and my new life in Louisville had the very significant perk of now being married to my favorite person in the world! So it wasn't as hard as it could have been, but there were days of living among the boxes when all I could think of was "I want my Mommy." I hear many new brides get that urge. :)
Two years and many new friends later (not to mention a new job, house, car and now pregnancy), I feel all those old pains again, very fresh and very raw. For two whole weeks, I was with people who have loved me through the most painful days of my life-- Chris, Val, and my Mom,-- people who have held me to the Gospel when I could not hold myself there, people who know me as I really am -the good, the ugly, and the goofy- and love me all the way. It reminded me of what I've left behind to follow Him. It reminded me of how much goes into friendships in order to make them that sweet and safe, and of how much I've resisted investing in new friendships. It reminded me of what the Gospel calls us to, and how far I've slid from living that way... and it all just hurts. I spent 14 days laughing my head off, reliving old jokes and making new ones, being honest, listening to, and just sharing life with the dearest friend the Lord has given me. I'm gonna miss that. (and of course I mean apart from my husband; Ryan's my life partner and soul mate; he gets his own category =D)
So today I'm unpacking and trying to re-orient myself to life here and now. I'm trying to stop crying and to thank God for each happy memory to treasure, and for the wonder of technology that enables international friendships not just to survive, but even to thrive. I'm trying to learn all that God has been trying to teach me through this experience. I think the main point is that I must be living all the way, wherever I am, doing whatever I'm doing for His glory. Chris preached a sermon Sunday whose application was that when we sin, the problem is a lack of passion for God. Part of every repentance should be repenting to Him for not loving Him supremely and passionately enough. Oh, that one hit close to home.
So... today I'll be unpacking, and thanking God, and repenting of lukewarm passion. I'm also pretty sure that God's trying to show me that my joy must not, cannot be circumstancial. This is something Val & I were talking about a lot- we both are quite competant, and able to manage life pretty much alone. We can do what needs to be done, and do it pretty well. But it's not enough to just survive-- there's got to be a "joy in the journey." That joy has to be Jesus, or else it will fade whenever anything else in life fades... which is everything. My joy and cheif companion must be He, not my new baby girl, not my husband, not my success as a teacher, not a great VBS, not even godly wives & moms who spur me on and set a great example for me.
Still, though, I am looking forward to Heaven for so many reasons, among them: "...what knitting severed friendships up/where partings are no more/ then eyes with joy shall sparkle/ that brimmed with tears of late/orphans no longer fatherless nor widows desolate.//" (~"Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand") Beacuse it seems like no matter who I'm with, I'm missing someone so hard my heart hurts. That's just life in this fallen world, where sin and distance and the drive to take the Gospel to those who haven't heard always separate. One Day it won't, and in the meantime, Jesus offers us wholeness in Him, no matter where we are or what we don't have.
"Give me an undivided heart!" David prayed. So am I-- and please, if you pray for me, pray too!