We’re each on earth at this point in time, traveling to… No one knows for sure. Early in the year, we found ourselves confident; we knew the direction. We thought we knew at the beginning of the year. We were all headed “someplace” in 2020.
And then Covid-19 hit.
We’re all home now. It took some longer than others yet now, we’re home. Now, we’re living life on “pause.”
Are things getting in your way, in your home? In your previous rush to get somewhere, did you lose sight of what’s important to you? Has the time of “pause” provided the opportunity to find your true north? Has revelation set in that around the globe, we are all shuttered? Life has slowed. Has the change of pace, caused you to ponder your life’s ultimate travel plans? Do you recognize others are on the same uncertain roads?
When life moves from “pause” to “reset” I expect there will be a gradual buildup of activity. I expect many of us to come out of our homes, a little dazed. Uncertain, perhaps, of what to expect from this point in history. I expect some will burst out of their homes expecting life to pick up where it left off. Will they bump into an unexpected reality, or will life simply return to what it was before Covid-19?
As I think about what’s ahead in 2019, it’s hard not to reflect on the last few years. God has been birthing a change in me and my husband’s life. This started after we vacationed in Ireland and England several years ago. That vacation was a great opportunity for both seeing new sites and connecting with family and friends who live in Europe. We also met a couple who live and work in Galway.
Yet, when we arrived home, it was not where would we go for the next trip that occupied our minds. It troubled my husband (Tom) that there appeared to be so few options for going to church in Tralee, the home of his Irish ancestors. As he pondered the dilemma, God put on his heart that he could do something to change the situation.
This seemed like a huge white canvas waiting to be painted, with us having no idea of what the picture was supposed to be. Originally, we thought we were supposed to go back in the fall of 2018, but that didn’t happen. When Tom prayed about all this, he felt the response was, “That’s okay, I’ll wait.” We became more earnest about discovering what this mission is supposed to be.
It’s been several years of praying and working through ‘life’ here where we live. The big white canvas contains a few broad sweeping strokes at this time. It is nowhere near a clear image. I laugh because it seems like we get insight and details only as we move forward, putting one foot in-front of the other on a path which leads back to Tralee; on a path which will provide opportunities to share God’s love; to help people understand God’s love is vast and wide and most importantly for them.
You may ask, how will we accomplish that? Certainly, through prayer and God’s guidance. Tom will work with a pastor in a nearby community, building their small group ministries. We’ll both reach out in Tralee to people both in and out of the church, to help them develop an understanding of God’s love that is deeper than the hurts and hardships previously imposed by governments and the church. This is not a one time in and out mission trip. We expect we’ll spend two to three months a year in Ireland, establishing long-term relationships with people. Currently, it will just be Tom and I, but over time I expect others may take up the mantle and also spend a couple months at a time there.
The holiday season is winding down. If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed the season. For me it is the holiday lights, the Christmas story, the music of the season and time spent with family and friends. The past year is coming to a close, and the new-year is almost upon us.
How’s your year ending? I’ve looked back on the past year and was amazed at the number of people I connected with, shared experiences with where we built memories together. I recognize I’m adapting to life in a new environment and a different phase of my life. When moving, I took the advice of a dear friend and was cautious about committing to things this first year of my retirement. (Sometimes I wonder if it is really retirement or transition. More on that another time.) The commitments made were to things core to me – a Church small group, a book club, a writers group and a group of friends. I love where we chose to live. I feel more grounded and at peace with myself. I’ve made progress on some of my goals. I’m learning to be more responsive. I’m learning more that God wants me to set goals, but to be flexible and change direction when He guides. I guess I’m learning to dance with Him and let Him lead. What a lesson for a lady who thought she could follow God and still be in control of so much of her own life!
So where does next year go? I don’t know! But I’m open to the adventure, the challenge of growing more, exploring more and learning more about the part of the world where I currently live. I have some goals, but hope to remain flexible enough to change and tweak them as necessary. I desire for my life to make a difference to those I come in contact with. For me, the dance continues.
What do you think your next year will look like and who’s leading it?