Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How To Be Here

There's a song by one of my throwback singer/songwriter favs, Sara Groves, that goes a little something like this:

"I've been painting pictures of Egypt
and leaving out all it lacks
the future feels so hard
and I wanna go back
but the places that used to fit me
will never hold the things I've learned
those roads were closed off to me
while my back was turned."

Oh, gee golly, I'll just let her sing it to you...

And I've been thinking a lot about this song lately.

About the things that I've been holding onto.
About the things I've been glamorizing about the past.
About the things that are keeping me from moving forward.
And now.

We spent two years in Korea. And they were good years, but also hard years. Not everything was perfect or rosy or comfortable. Homesickness is a thing that only magnifies when you're 12 time zones away from your own zipcode. And we've been back in the States for six months now.
And there's this startling phenomenon I've noticed:
from this vantage point, I tend to focus on the 
best of past moments 
the worst of the present moment. 


Lately, Korea has been nothing but exciting cultural lessons.
Great food.
Wonderful travel.
And fun times playing Ultimate Frisbee with people from all over the world.

But I know--because I wrote about it for the past two years--Korea was kinda lonely.
And hard.
And at times isolating.
And confusing.
And frankly, I didn't love most of the food.
And we didn't travel, like, every weekend.
We went to work.
We paid our bills.
And I woke up most mornings thinking about home.
Wishing I were somewhere else.

About a month ago, Jeremy and I had the awesome opportunity to be part of a small, day-long workshop of sorts with Rob Bell. He's that guy that wrote that book that asked a lot of interesting questions that made a lot of evangelicals cranky. And as a result he gained a whole following of interesting and curious people who find themselves somewhere in-between the super-religious church-going world and truth-seeking atheists. The work he's doing lately completely fascinates me. So, I didn't want to miss this opportunity to sit with about 100 other people and listen and ask questions.

Rob presented on his most recent book, called How To Be Here. And if there was a more fitting message I needed to hear at THIS moment in our lives, I haven't found it. I took four pages of notes.

He talks about how our lives are like that blinking line at the beginning of a Word document.
It's either pushing us to do something awesome.
Or scaring us into doing nothing at all.
But it's always there blinking.
Reminding us that life is happening with or without us.

And the most interesting people are those that are doing the work that's in front of them whether that's  selling insurance or driving for Uber. They make it their craft. As much as we like to think that only "lucky folks" get to do the work they love, we fail to realize what there is to love about this moment. This job. This place in time. And so we long for some other place because only then will we be happy. Only then will we be fulfilled. And then, we hope and hope and one day, we die. Never having been happy with a life that was always right. in. front. of. us.

He talks about cultivating a grateful awareness that
we are alive
and we are here
and we get to do this.

I haven't felt much of that grateful awareness lately, but I'm working on it. And I think it begins with being here. With focusing on the goodness that's right in front of me. Now.

And so, right now...
I get to live in America.
I get to live in a place that has friendly northern neighbors.
I get to be in public without being a spectacle.
I get to see my parents every day.
I get to live on a farm.
I get to see the Rocky-freaking-mountains from my window.
I get to drive a car.
I get to see my one year-old niece on the weekends.
I get to communicate in English everywhere I go.
I get to call or text my friends any time, no longer setting up Skype dates once a month.
I get to be a barista.
I get to apply to graduate school.
I get to be a "native" instead of a "foreigner."
I get to go to the grocery store and buy anything I need.
I get to be alive.

I get to be here.


Carlos Molina said...

I am reading your book "Honestly I'm Struggling", I like it is real! I admire your corage to write this book! God Bless you and your family!