In the Midst of the Woods

You have to get creative in finding ways to entertain yourself on the mission field. With long waits for planes, trains, and broken down cars and less access to the social realm via the internet you have a lot of down time. Part of that down time in India last summer was spent with the team arguing about riddles. I remember one riddle that had us in a tiff for quite some time because, to be honest, there was no right answer. (Well, technically my answer was the right one.)

So here it is: You’re walking straight through a huge forest, in one side, out the other. You step across the tree line to enter the forest, when do you begin to exit it? My answer: The second you walk into it. The “real” answer: When you get to the halfway point.

As I’m sitting here in the airport, just after saying goodbye to my family for the next 2 years, I stand by my answer even more firmly. Why? Because now I recognize there is no separation between walking out and walking in, leaving and arriving. You aren’t walking away until you step across a boundary that decides when you walk toward something new, it doesn’t work that way. After all, when one leaves something they are making a decision to walk toward something new, whether intentionally or not. Leaving always has an arriving.

Who says there is a specific moment when you are directly between “here” and “there”? Are we not in the midst of a process, a life-long journey that ebbs and flows but never reaches a definite destination? If there was a season between the leaving and the arriving it would be a hopeless vacuum of sorts filled with stagnancy and apathy. The leaving would be even more of a heartbreak if I had no future to cling to. I’m not going to lie, this transition, no matter how glamorous it may seem to some, has been a great sacrifice. But it has been so worth it, because in saying goodbye to some treasures, I know I’m saying hello to abundance, purpose, hope, destiny. I’m not having everything stripped from me in desperation, but I choose to lay it all down for Christ.

Isn’t that the joy of transition, of growth? That we get to go from glory to glory? And isn’t it even more powerful that we get to choose to either embrace it or run from it? We can either chose to keep our eyes set before us, walking consistently toward a destination while subconsciously saying no to an infinite amount of alternate decisions, or we can become a victim to the path, letting life happen to us, stealing the seasons we are in and thrusting curves ahead.

I don’t want to be one who categorizes my life into ups and downs, coming and going! I want to embrace the fact that I am both leaving and arriving, that I am always in process, that I will forever be walking forward toward a destiny that has not yet been fully experience. That no matter if I feel that life is slipping through my fingers, I can keep my gaze set firmly forward and realize that I am not losing something, in seeking Christ I gain everything!

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