Word of the Week

Simplicity and In-the Meantime

Sometimes of late, I look around at my life and don't recognize myself.

Situations that used to make me anxious like ever-changing plans for where I'll be in a given week-- are par for the course.

Weeks of the year like this one, that used to be full of the busy cries around the church office of "Holy Week is coming, holy week is coming" are just another week in the year, actually quieter than normal.

Being able to answer someone when they ask what's going on next month with a definitive answer is simply a thing of the past.

Kevin and I now spend time between Oklahoma City, OK and the DC metro area and every other place in between as we balance this lifestyle of being where we need to be at the time. Kevin works in both places. I have things to do in both places and other places too. Defining where exactly is our "home" becomes murkier all the time. Since January, it is rare that I haven't been on an airplane at least once a week. We have been blessed to have the resources to do what is needed (and for this, I'm grateful everyday), but it's been a big change. And, I've looked for resources from any place I can to manage it all. And this is one I've thought a lot about lately:

One summer while I was in college, I worked for a youth camp organization-- an international and domestic traveling team for two months. Before the summer began, we were told to pack one suitcase that would contain everything we'd need for all sorts of climates and living conditions. I showed up on day one with the biggest bag of them all-- something about having my own stuff made me feel more secure. But, instead, I just felt awkward.

Soon I would be challenged at every possible level. I slept in a new bed every couple of days. After the first week of camp, we moved on to a new location. I knew this was what I should be doing for the summer . . . but there were so many moments when I wondered what I'd gotten into!

But, as the days went on, I learned the best thing I could do was travel lighter each week. Maybe I didn't need to get so attached people we met at the work sites? Maybe I could exchange my big mama bag for something smaller at a thrift store? Maybe as everything changed from week to week-- the scenery, the traveling companions beside me and even my moods-- I was being given tools to teach me? Simplicity of purpose became the gift which led to contentment.

And again, here in 2013, with Feed The Children so much a part of what drives the heart of our schedule, I'm having similar stirrings.

Can I live with what is right in front of me?

Can I be content anywhere? Can I find the good in situations or places that are not always ideal?

But, again there are challenges (or maybe just growing edges).

When your life is spread across several places, you often don't have your first choice of what to wear on a given day. When I get dressed in the morning I often get to pick out something from what is in a suitcase, even if it contains the same choices from what I picked last week.

When your life is spread across several places, you don't always get your life in your best case scenario. For example, I love sit-down dinners at home. But to expect a daily routine of always eating with Kevin on Mondays at 6 pm is out of the question. We must connect to each other in other ways.

When your life is spread across several places, you don't get the luxury of getting peace from your circumstances. If I only found peace from running in a particular park or reading in a particular chair or drinking tea from a particular mug, then simply peace wouldn't exist. I must find peace from the presence of the Holy, whom I know is with me wherever I go.

When your life is spread across several places, you don't "work" like normal people do. If I got my esteem from the praise of a boss or a work environment, I'd just be in complete misery right now. But, I can't let other's opinions of me be the words I listen to the most.

In these Lenten weeks, I'm growing to be ok with whatever each day holds, even if it doesn't look exactly like it did the day before. I'm learning to live with less stuff. I'm learning God's presence can be found on airplanes, in guest beds of friends homes', or back in my favorite writing chair in VA. And, if my heart settles a little, no matter what the circumstances, life can be good. Sometimes even very good indeed.