Recently, I’ve been listening a lot to a song written and sung by 2 friends.
It’s a special song – it tells the story of their love; and it was the title track of a CD they produced as wedding favours, 4.5 years ago. Best wedding favour I’ve ever received.
Listening to this song again, after some time has passed, makes me wistful.
Their song reminds me of a special season of life. Actually, the time at which their wedding took place was a very sad period for me personally. It was a period when I was made to understand ‘wilderness’ in new ways. It was a period when I learnt that it was possible to be around many people and yet terribly alone – and worse, sometimes due to the choices others made and conclusions they arrived at about me.
Very soon after my friends’ wedding, I went off to a place. A very special place up North. It was a place of hiding & healing. Not by my own doing; I was sent there. I went with little expectations. In fact, because I was feeling so lonely, so abandoned, so terrible about myself when I left to go there, I was worried that being so far away from everything familiar would just accentuate the sadness.
A little while before I left for North though, this verse found me:
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
– Psalm 18:19
At that time, I didn’t understand it, but carried the verse with me to the North anyway. As I went and the days unfolded, I began to see that the verse was literally and figuratively real. I started to believe that I could actually be delightable.
Spacious place? Check.
Rescued me? Check.
Delight in me? Wait a minute. For real? Wow.
A lot of things happened during my time in the very special place up North, (interior & exterior) things that I don’t fully grasp even up till this day. It is a mystery that God alone has full view of.
“I want you to go knowing that you have our love and prayers that everything will be well.”
“The Inukshuk symbolises being shown the way. These Inukshuk, when you wear them, perhaps they will whisper in your ear and show you the way.”
I eventually came back to where I left off. But I wasn’t the same person anymore.
I’d left the North with another verse that found me; and with a word that followed me like a shadow. The word itself was clear, but exactly what it would entail and how and when, was absolutely unclear. In some ways, the circumstances I came back to reflected the opposite of what that clear word meant. It was (humanly) impossible to hold on to that clear word.
“It doesn’t make sense. Until Chapter 2. Can you remember that?”
Standing where I am now, 4 years from the time I left that very special place up North, I see how that clear word has featured in the ups & downs of the time that has passed. Fulfillment of a given word, or my human haste (and folly) creating self-fulfilling prophecies?
I don’t know, to be very honest.
These 4 years have been literally unsettling ones. Every year, a change of environment, priorities, and rhythm. Every year, totally different from the one before it. Every year, shedding of more hubris and discovering that my knees can go even lower than the year before. Every year, stepping further and further away from the well-trodden path.
None of this was deliberate. I didn’t have a grand plan or some blinding revelation + unwavering faith & courage based on that clear word from up North. No, no. Plenty of struggle, doubt, fear, questioning, rambling verbal/written prayer, mind-bursting anal analysis, streams of tears, mental blank-outs, grouchy & sour limps, and conversations with long-suffering friends. Every one of those ‘critical shifts’ contained decisions I never guessed I’d have to make. If I’d known, I’d have died of fright.
And that’s not counting the medical narrative – which is a saga in its 14th season (year)!…
And still, I don’t know.
Every memory waiting to start
I’ve been thinking about my 2 friends as I’ve listened to their song and their lovely voices. When I hear this line in their song, I think about a Gem in their lives now. This is going to sound a bit dumb, but I am repeatedly astonished by the realisation that Gem is such a… concrete ‘memory waiting to start’. Breathing, living, growing, laughing, loving. God had (has) always known that this Gem will be in their story. Concretely. … What other memories are waiting to start, for them?
I think about the ‘memories’ that were waiting to start in my own life, back when it was their wedding day. Some of these ‘memories’ have been very painful ones; others comforting; and a good number still partially-deciphered. Some of these ‘memories’ are places & events; some are people & paths. For better or worse, all of the ‘memories’ are concrete. And unforeseen.
A reprise now? Standing where I am now… what other memories are waiting to start?
I don’t know.
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” – Psalm 39:7
(This photo has no logical link to this post. Except that it does feel, at this point, like things are hollowing out. But I try my best to remember that God determines the fruit – and perhaps the hollowing out is part of His plan for fruitfulness.)