You know those pictures that pop up on Facebook telling you that such and such happened so long ago? Today mine popped up with the memory of my last day in Israel. A year ago? Really?
I remember those last few days of saying my good-byes. I remember how I wanted to live my last week there the same as I had always lived it, doing my normal ordinary things. Going to orchestra rehearsal, playing in Zion Gate, and going to class, Christ Church and congregation. I remember just how much I was dreading that final Hebrew exam, and I remember being exhausted and contemplating how I was going to get all my suitcases down my bazillion flights of stairs, to the sharut stop, and into the airport.
But I also remember how excited I was. Saying good-bye was bitter sweet. I knew what I was leaving, but I was SO excited for the future. I remember slowly walking down Yaffa Street that soft Jerusalem night for the last time just like always and running into a friend…she spoke incredible words of blessing over me as I was ready to move on. Life was crazy and I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but I remember that my heart was at rest because God had told me it was time to go. He had tied up the lose ends of a story I thought would never be finished, and said that I didn’t have to worry about looking over my shoulder anymore. He was telling me it was okay to say good-bye.
I remember anticipating the next thing. Life in New York. Seven years I’d waited and I was so ready to stop just planning and actually start this life here! Oh, if I had known…let’s just say it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but…I’m just glad I didn’t know!
I have learned so much over the past year. So much about myself, so much about God, and so much about how little I actually know. I have seen God work and move in so many different ways, and I wouldn’t trade any of it, but I sure as anything wouldn’t want to have to do it over again!
What a difference a year makes. I visited the Shire the other week do to unexpected health issues, and it was wonderful to be there. Wonderful to rest and spend time with my family. Wonderful to have people to take care of me. But being there also confirmed something for me. My heart is here. This is starting to be ‘home.’ Life here hasn’t been easy, but I love this place with my crooked little staircase, my books and music, and even Reepicheep the mouse that occasionally comes to visit. (Yes, I did name him, and I really have gotten rather attached.)
I don’t know what the next year will hold, but I know that whatever it is it probably won’t be easy. There will be pain, there will be tears, and maybe God will say it’s time to move on again. Maybe this won’t be home forever. But I know that whatever the next year holds, I can’t do it by myself. And the wonderful thing is that I don’t have to. I am held by an everlasting God who knows exactly what adventure He has for me next!