Sunday, July 22, 2012

Clearing Space

     I have heard people say that it is good to move every few years because it is the only way to get rid of all the stuff we accumulate in our lives. I don't know if moving is the only way to do this, but it certainly works. Especially when you are getting ready to make a cross cultural move with only 9 to 10 suitcases. The past few weeks Joy and I have been working hard to clean out our home. A few things will come to Tenwek with us, a few more will go into storage, but most will just go. I have found this process is more time consuming than it should be because so many relics have to be reviewed and remembered. A stack of grade school yearbooks set me back an hour and yielded this classic photo. Opening another box unearthed Eagle Scout memorabilia, and I spent a half hour going down the road thinking about all the life lessons I learned from Laurence Chapman and the perseverance of my parents in helping me earn that rank. We have old toys, pictures and letters that have brought back good memories and a few bad ones. At times it has been fun calling to one another to show off some vestige of our youth or a cherished memento from when we were dating.

      However, it has also been difficult parsing through our lives to make more space.
There have been times when I wonder what we are doing. I ask myself how are we going to leave this all behind, but the answer is also crystal clear in those memories. Everything each of us did, whether alone or together, was God leading us to this point. It was not happenstance that I was so involved in Scouting, an organization which places so much importance on serving others. It was not a random act that brought me into a relationship with the President of Hampden-Sydney College, Sam Wilson, who encouraged me to attend his Sunday school class at a time in my life when I placed little value on early rising on a weekend. And it was certainly no coincidence that kept Joy and me from adopting our son until 2009. Just as God had us waiting for our son, who wasn't even born back in 2007, He did not allow us to knock down the door to service in Africa when we thought the timing was right. He made us wait on Him until He opened the door: He has planned all of this in His time and not ours.

     And so, clearing out the relics has made room--in our house and in our imaginations: how is God crafting our lives now, today? And what new things might He create in these new and different spaces?

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