This morning at 2:30 I pulled (carefully) out off of the sidewalk driving a 15 passenger van with a trailer attached, full of sleepily eager students and staff.
To the airport we went. Conversation was pleasant with an undertone of excitement on the long drive to Denver. I think many of them were still in a state of disbelief. For at least one, this would be the first time flying, and her introduction to air travel would be no small trip. Denver to LA, LA to Seoul, Seoul to Chang Rai (Mai? I can never get those two straight).
I requested to be their driver because what I wanted most was to go with them all the way to Thailand but the airport is as far as I could get this time around….
On the way back to Colorado Springs in the now empty van I turned on some music and prepared to enjoy the early (early) morning solitude and traffic free highway. A few songs in, Work by Jars of Clay came on.
This is a song that, a few years ago I really identified with. My husband had left me in July of 2010 and I was preparing (in July of 2011) to pack up my car and move to Colorado to work with a missions organization called Youth With A Mission.
The main lyric that struck me at that point was,
“Do you know what I mean when I say ‘I don’t want to be alone?'”
The lead singer kind of yell/sings this line at one point in the song and I felt this deep in my guts. I wanted to follow God, but I often would talk to him about being alone… leaving my community in Washington state: a community that I had grown very close to in the course of 8yrs and a couple of personal tragedies. I was excited to finally follow a call I had heard many, many years before that… but still… to me the timing was hard.
So as I flew down the freeway this morning after dropping off the students from the very first school I’ve ever staffed, I felt a longing to be going with them, to see the fruition of our months of learning, to walk with them as they stepped out in their own call from God to the nations. I felt the reality of this lifestyle- growing close with people and then watching them soar from the nest… away… on their own journeys with God.
But also? I felt so much joy. As Dan Haseltine sang this familiar song of frustrated longing in my ear, I realized- really knew to the core of my being- that I am not alone. Although I have no definite home, I am beginning to feel a growing sense of grounding in my own body that makes even temporary lodgings feel comfortable. Although I don’t have a family here, and I may never live near my family, may never go back to my community in Washington and may never have the opportunity to be a traditional wife and mother to a husband and kids, I am truly not ever alone.
As I sang along to lyrics that used to express a deep and real and completely justifiable question to my Creator, I was now singing (at the top of my tired voice) with the Answer vibrating through my being. It makes no reasonable sense, but it’s true. It is in being “alone” and in almost constant transition that I have discovered just how connected and loved I am, and just how much I belong.
To my friends starting out in your own journey as missionaries, I’m praying for you and I’m so proud of you! To my loved ones in Northwest Washington, I LOVE you and I’m so grateful for you! Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey. Thank you for being the hands and faces that constantly show me what God looks like.
And to all of you who are reading this right now: you are not alone.