“You know the reason we all know each other,” I ask during our lazy afternoon conversation, bare feet propped up on the coffee table. “Because we were all brave and said yes to living outside our comfort zone.”
We’re six sprawled out in chairs and couches huddled tightly in the living room at Hope Cottage, basking in the afterglow of Sunday dinner, fighting sleepiness to linger long in conversation. Seven years pass since we did this last time. Our family stopped through England for respite on our way home from Rwanda.
Eyebrows collectively arch, like a dash or an ellipsis in our conversation. Then suddenly, nods of agreement become contagious. I didn’t realize it until that moment. How our life choices in response to the unseen, unplanned, and uncharted opportunities in life yield the gift of enduring friendships with people scattered across the globe.
Twenty years ago, we met for the first time on a quiet, starry night in Colorado as they stepped off the train, tired newlyweds with attractive British accents. Now we sit together laughing in their parents living room about my inappropriate use of the word yard to refer to their lush garden.
We each walked away from predictable paychecks, the security of social ties, and the familiarity of family and perceived future success to be missionaries living on the mercy of kindness. Or as full-time missionaries say, “We lived on support.”
And we learned that trust means believing that miracles are tangible for everyone, not just the chosen few. It’s what I thought of when I read Margaret’s words:
Too many of us play and pray it safe. We allow our aspirations to stay in our heads, our goals to remain barely outside our grasp. Life becomes a series of unrealized hopes and dreams. Rather than engage in the fullness of life, we remain on the sidelines and pass up uncounted opportunities. Our fears become greater than the hope of the One who came to bring us abundant life.
Perhaps this epiphany on the day H and I celebrate our twenty-third wedding anniversary is a greater gift than the silver plated trinkets tradition says that we should get. Risking reputation and security to follow Christ isn’t planned or predictable and it doesn’t produce preconceived outcomes. It’s like swimming upstream while rain pellets blind your path to shore. You aren’t certain how you’ll get there but when you stand on shore and have a look around, you realize the journey was worth it. The beauty He has waiting at the destination is nothing you could’ve imagined or conjured up on you own.
Being brave for Christ is like standing on the banks of bountiful blessings you didn’t even know were yours until you chose to risk; walk right into fear of the unknown with a flicker of trust dangling from your hands to Light the way.
Even if you stumble, you may find your dream expanding into something even more enchanting than you ever imagined. ~Margaret Feinberg, Wonderstruck
Rare sunlight streams in through the solarium. It’s been eighteen months of wet and cloudy they tell us. Perhaps we’ve carried the sun from the beach in our suitcases and opened it up in England. Pink blooms on the trees multiply in three days, weighing branches down over the thick green carpet in the garden.
We laugh until tears run down my cheeks and I’m holding my stomach. And I’m wonderstruck by it all, the way He makes life beautiful.
Are you willing to risk? When God asks will you say yes?
This is the last installment and link-up for the book club Duane and I are hosting on Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. I hope you have enjoyed the book, discussion and the stories on each of the chapters over the past few Wednesdays. Thank you for joining us.