Being a missionary can feel a bit random, at times… as if Someone else rather than you holds the thread of who you are and where you land. And that’s ok – the way it is meant to be, no doubt – a tiny taste of the life of the One who did not have a place to lay his head (Lk 9:58). And you have a freedom that few can ask for, because the world is somehow your oyster … but there is a flip side: the kind of belonging that comes with owning and being owned by a place (a country, a Diocese…) is not given to you; it’s simply not part of the missionary calling. [The exception is, of course, your family – pace Heaney clan:) – I know I belong to you.]
But I have decided in the Easter-time that I am going to seek the thread amidst the movement… the signs of grace and continuity that show how God knew all along, and allow me taste and savour more just how amazing the life Jesus called me to is. And I know it is. I feel so very blessed at times. But naming is a good thing… so that will be the colour and tone, I hope of the next few blogs… until further notice 🙂 …
Today, as I once find myself on one of the other sides of the world, I am graced by the beauty of another sunshine state,
and by the collaboration of colleagues one meets “again for the first time”…
This morning, as I walked and prayed under a glorious sun and without Queensland humidity 🙂
I found myself observing another way of people living… houses with lights in their windows, families with kids who like football, or basketball, or cricket (although I seem to find running wherever I land, these days)… and I am brought back to when I was 16.
One of my party pieces, and one my father always loved, despite himself, was this one:
I Wonder: Lyrics:This park and these houses, old streets I have walked/ Everything dear, will it be here One day when I am returning? My friends will get married, have children and homes It sounds so nice, well-planned and wise/Never expecting surprises I wonder, it’s frightening…Leaving now, is that the right thing? I wonder, it scares me/ But who the the hell am I if I don’t leave it I’m not a coward…/ Oh no, I’ll be strong One chance in a lifetime/ Yes I will take it, it can’t go wrong My friends and my family, this dull little town /Buses I’ve missed, boys that I’ve kissed Everything old and familiar/…I wonder, it’s frightening…
And this was before I felt called to leave home and seek Jesus and perhaps think about a missionary calling. But when that call did emerge, I remember that one aspect of it was this: an intuition that my destiny was not going to fit in one place, one school, one semi-detached (or detached – for that matter) with 4 kids (or 5 or 10)… That my fate was more fluid and shifting and open and ample than that. It felt too small for me.
So today I thank God for the moving, the changes, the new faces and places and experiences.. the lives I have had access to, the families who have invited me in, the people I would never have met and that mean so much, even when worlds away… the ones who have enriched me beyond measure, and those I have enriched…especially those I have taught to pray.
I thank God for this amazing life in which he is the centre and the root: the hidden life that through him is in God… that that lets me make sense of it all… and it’s a sense my whole being tastes… :
“Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:1-3).