Saturday, May 25, 2013

London: Surrender to Adventure

For me I feel closest to God when I travel. This is what I wrote in my journal on the tube the other day and I think it gets at why this is the case for me.

"On the tube- as I get older travelling has become easier and harder. Easier because I know the system better, I can navigate and get myself to the necessities- food, shelter, transportation. Harder, because there is more for me to succumb to- to surrender to. My to-do list from home is hard to tear away from- my identity is too soaked in all I am trying to accomplish. Time to escape from my self-obsessed narrative and let in the world. I felt a bit pitiful arriving at the airport- I was not at ease until I was virtually reconnected. Breakfast - and then wi-fi. The blessing and the curse of being a part of my generation I guess. I am at the point in my life where I am less sure than ever what life has in store for me. Change is electric in the air, like the build up of a pending lightning strike. I feel like a whirling dervish forgetting why he is spinning.
       The london tube map makes much more sense to me than the trajectory of my life. London- Grey Sky, Green Trees and little red brick town homes with Mary-Poppin chimneys. How in the world did I end up here. I should be pleased I have a full day in London to be spontanious - I have nowhere to be until 5PM and it is 9:00am. Instead I find the unknown slightly frustrating/irritating. I am more concerned with my broken suitcase wheel. How petty of me.
       The signs I am in Europe are becoming more apparent- the iron fencing, the smaller cars with yellow liscense plates, the rain jackets and the fonts on the street signs. Am I glaringly American? Perhaps. I think the frustration I feel is the part of my identity I had wrapped up in my day to day places. In London, I still exist as a body, but suddenly as a foreigner- a grappling, slightly awkward stranger whose lack of direction is much more apparent than it is at home. Not a part of a community.
       There are lilacs blooming here too. Reminds me of John's and my recent walk in the rain- my tears blending with the moist air- induced by my obsession with my own stress and inadequacies - and John picking me a small lilac flower to make me feel better. He is genuinely sweet and eager to please. I wonder sometimes if I am too hard on him- I think I am hard on him because I am hard on myself. I asked him what he wanted to take away from my trip to London and he said "I need you to find contentment." He can profound at the most surprising times- so easily humbles me. I think I am still scared of him dying suddenly or leaving.
          Where am I going to work next? Where am I going to live? Where am I going to go to school and when? These are the worries I let the tube swish away as it travels to the heart of london. My worries blur and fade away into the blending of the tree leaves out the window. I feel like a wound up rag just being untwisted. Still damp to the bone- it is raining hard here. There- as I focus more on my surroundings rather than my inner musings- he starts to appear. First in the glints in the water on bicycle tires or in the sound of the tube clinking over the tracks. In peoples eyes and the the rust on the sign post. God is here as he is everywhere. I just haven't been willing to open up to him. Thank goodness for a new context where I am jostled up a bit. As I become increasingly aware and connected, contentment starts its osmosis into my being. In recognizing the divine around me, I start to feel more at home in London than I have in Minnesota for months. The beauty is apparent, the drumming in my head has slowed, and I- on two hours of sleep have finally started to wake up."

In a couple words, it is surrendering to wonder, and the beauty in the world- and then that as a reflection of God. In the course I was in today this was the quote that vibrated true with me:

"When we do what God wants we discover him inside of doing it. He wants all of us to discover his plan for unity for all people in him." -Jewish Participant

1 comment:

  1. oh, I relate to your feelings on travelling. I left five days after college graduation for four months of work and travel in Europe in order to avoid the question "what are you going to DO now that you are done with college!" and I learned that I put way too much pressure on my self, took myself way too seriously, that when I viewed myself as part of the bigger world I felt smaller and God felt bigger. At home when I took my life so seriously my life felt way bigger but God felt way smaller. I have discovered when I chose to walk with God and work hard at the small but honorable things of life that God shines so strongly in the small things of everyday life and they become the big things!! The world and popular culture will never believe this, but truly the small and unglamorous things are the big things in life . . .and we truly can't please the world and God. So many of us grow up feeling like we are the center of the universe and put so much pressure on ourselves, (I think especially first borns do this), and it takes SO long to unlearn this (at least it did for me)!! The unlearning process is so humbling and at times so hard, but filled with contentment and a deep sense of peace. Surrender to the wonder, you are part of it! And so is everyone else, no more and no less. How wonderful this is!!