This is day 19 in a series: 31 Letters from London. In October, I’m doing something a little different and writing to you about the realities of life as an expat; finding the nearness of God through random experiences with new culture. It’s important to begin here and find the collection of letters here. We’re breaking for Sabbath every Sunday.
On Sabbath in the Cotwolds, I sat down at the kitchen table in front of a bowl of freshly harvested hollyhock seeds and a lady bug emerged from among the pile of remnants. And then through my lens, I discovered she had company.
They circled the rim of the bowl like the brain trying to make sense of a mystery during sleep. I was going to write you about something completely different today but this came pouring out instead.
I’ve shed tears three times today.
Once when I realized today is my brother’s birthday. And how I know not having him on the earth any longer is a grief my parents will never get over.
Once after writing a letter to a friend in celebration of her 50th birthday. And how the impression she left on my daughter when she was only six made a long-lasting impact. Shouldn’t this always be the mark of a good teacher?
Once when I read the email my Dad sent to me explaining why it looked as though he gave up on being my Father, but he didn’t. And how so much time has passed between us without knowing.
What does this have to do with living in London? The farther you move away from the places where you find your identity, the closer you are to becoming human.
While I am becoming a boss at navigating new culture, I am, at the same time, losing a bit of myself. The parts Jesus is chipping off. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
London thrums with possibility, opportunity, and new adventure and I am embracing it with abandon. When we pay attention, He provides a binocular view of the seeds we have planted and harvested so we can see the way our Saviour has been close by, intimate, and entangled in every blessed minute.
The way to move forward is by looking back. You see how far you’ve come, realize life is precious and cry for the beauty of it.