Going through my room at my parent's house in America has become something of a tradition for me. It seems to be the one place in the world where I can safely keep those things that have become dear to me in the course of my travels. The mementos are quite often unusual things that would have little or no meaning to anyone else: the business card of the coffee place where I once had a conversation with a guy who reminded me that perhaps I wouldn't always be traveling alone. The scarf from the brilliant French woman who gave it to remind me to pray for France. There is the cowboy hat from Wyoming that reminds me of my grandparents who taught me what it means to be on the road and to like it. There are the sea shells I picked up on my last trip to the beach in New Zealand. There are the random pieces of foreign currencies I am forever pulling out of my wallet while desperately trying to remember which country I am in. There are the small tourist items the prostitutes in Thailand gave me so that I would never forget them and the gifts from the sweet woman suffering a lifetime of abuse from her ex-husband in Australia.
All these things pass through my hands and into my heart. And yet, the things I hold the most dear, are the memories of the faces of those people represented by so many strange little objects. Still it was not the things I've found most precious, but the times someone would pour out their broken heart to me and we'd bring it to Jesus. How many times would they look to me for help and I'd nod a "No, I can't but He can." How many tears have I seen, stories have I heard, hands have I held in the midst of their difficulties? Memories that would fill up this entire room and my whole heart.
Coming back to the U.S. is always a little hard because you so want to share what you've seen and learned, but you'll often find that you are without words.There are moments of your life that were never meant to be described. There are pieces of your heart that will never be shared by another human creature. There are still so many places to go. There are so many people who do not know Jesus yet. It is hard to rest your hands when so many are in desperate need of just one touch from Him. I now understand why often Jesus in all His exhaustion would turn to the crowd of needy people before Him and "have compassion on them." In His heart He must have thought, "Just one more healing, just one more word of encouragement, just one more act to show them I love them." He knew His time was short. And yet, He'd often turn away by Himself to be with His Father. I suppose that is where my life is right now, sitting on a mountain with Dad, listening to Him speak, and just enjoying His presence before getting back down to work.
My friend Carina and I in Dresden
Katheryn, Ashleigh, Alan, Me, and Frank in Northern Ireland
Me, Jes, Hannah, and Jamie in Oz
Yesterday, I was watching the final episode of "Parks and Recreation," and the main character said something that struck me. She asked her husband how long it would be before she saw all of her favorite people together in one room again. "Not for a long time" he answered. "And what will happen before then?" "A lot."
There are too many goodbyes in this world; too many tears at the airport when you're not sure if and when you'll see that person again. There are too many threads of plot left unfinished. It will be a long time before I see all of my favorite people from around the world in one room again. I am so expectant of that day when history will come to a close, time will stop, and all the nations of the world will stand before the throne of God and praise Him. And what a reunion that will be.