I've had discussions with several people lately on the peculiar pressures of coming "home," especially from a long and rather intense season of travel. I wound up compiling my thoughts in a letter to a friend going through a similar transition the other day. It's a pretty good depiction of my current headspace, so I thought I'd share. Here's an excerpt:
Here's what I decided on Friday. Every place you've ever spent a worthy chunk of time, you leave a "you-shaped hole." It is precisely the same size and shape as the perception you left on those closest to you at that time, and your own perception of your role in that particular environment (+/-, of course, a margin for exaggeration and forgetfulness). The thing with wandering types is, we change and grow much during our exploits on the road, often not even able to keep up with our own internal progress. Upon returning to places once familiar, a natural gravity tries to pull you directly back into the vacuum left at your departure. It's awkward, and at times a bit painful, because you just don't fit anymore.
This was causing me some anxiety until the revelation that this gravity isn't real. We're citizens of the Heavenlies, free to traipse above the grasp of perceptions, fears, limitations, societal and relational constructs, and our own dogma. We're free to dream the biggest dreams we can and set them into action, and God is on our side. He likes creators, because he is one. So I'm trying more and more to divorce myself from the mundane, even as life begins to take on forms that look more familiar. I'm making lists of things I know about myself, and other lists of things I want to know about myself and the world around me. I'm making lists of things that change and things that remain. And I'm trying to see this old, familiar world through eyes that I know are new, finding new ways to bless the world around me as I soak it in to new depths.
The other thing hampering me has been the horrible always-present question, "What's Next?" And nobody wants to know more than me. Especially seeing as I've been spending my time this last week picking up odd landscaping jobs, doing the exact same things I did at my first job when I was just 14. It's humbling, and generally I think humbling things are good things. It's given me plenty of time to think and then worry and eventually remember to pray and then still ample time left over to do nothing but wait on answers. And knee-deep in mud with an aching back is a pretty good place to get revelation.
A number of my favourite people point out the relationship between the natural/physical and the spiritual, so I try to tread lightly with open eyes. Yesterday, Todd (the guy paying me to plant trees) was telling me why he's not too crazy about the type of tree we were putting in the ground. Todd said, "They grow really fast. But, they tend to forget which is their main trunk and split off in other directions. They get really unruly and hard to maintain."
It's rare that I'm hit immediately by the weight of statements concerning the growth of trees, but this was one such occasion. I felt like God was saying "I don't want you to be an unruly Red Maple. I want you to be a freaking ginormous Redwood. But that takes TIME. I've torn you up a bit. CHILL OUT. Let this stuff sink in and settle. Then the growing can happen straight and strong and purposeful."
I'm left in a peculiar tension between chapters. And I guess that's good. The pull of what's to come may keep me from getting too settled, while the warmth of the familiar could keep me from rushing ahead. So, until further notice I will remain planless, phoneless, content, and available for hire.
See also: Galations 5:5 "But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope."