Loss Vs the Potential for Gain

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There’s very little length to this blog today. Simply a lesson I am learning more and more.

If it’s worth saving, it’s worth losing. 

There are many situations in our lives where we weigh out the potential for loss. We consider risk when making decisions.

How often have I heard a friend say “I would have asked him out, but if he says no?” or “I really think she needs to know this before she marries him.” or maybe, “He hurt me and I don’t know how to tell him, what if it makes it worse.”

These are of course, just three simple examples where we consider the risk of being honest with someone. Honesty in this day seems to be very difficult. It’s often hard to be honest and even more difficult to take.

One internet meme says it well. In reference to a long-marriage the quote says, “they came from a time where you fixed what was broken instead of throwing it away.”

We are in an age of hyper-communication and yet we tend to shy away from real communications, instead opting for niceties, likes and/or passive aggressive communication. We worry about saying something what could be deemed as harsh, negative or, even in many cases, just put us into a vulnerable position. Honesty is scary.

But when we love someone it’s worth it. Just like our parents put boundaries on us or discipline us because they love us, when we care about someone, when we love them, words end up only helping.

I don’t want to go halfway. I don’t want friends (and I mean real friends, not acquaintances) with whom I can’t bare my soul. I don’t want leave a broken mess behind me.

If I care enough about keeping it, I care enough about losing it.

If it was real it won’t stay broken long.

And The Road Leads…Home

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I remember getting on the plane, August 21 2005. I was 22.

It wasn’t the first time I had made a major life decision to separate myself from those closest to me and move.

I was barely 18 when I moved from Vancouver, BC to St. Catharines, ON to go to university. Who knew that meeting a girl called Sarah in my first year would somehow lead me to moving abroad just four years later.

This time the catalyst is different.

This time it’s about a call.

Next month, I’m packing up, leaving Sweden, leaving Europe and heading to California.

Now, as far as I know, California is a stop, SELAH, a break.

I’m going home.

home. 

What a loaded word.

When I moved to university, I was 18 and I was leaving the people I love.

Now, as I take a huge step of faith, again I am leaving those I love. But the most beautiful, terrible part is that now, my heart is across the world.

My heart, ripped, torn, stretched and spread from Australia to California, from NYC to Amsterdam, from Stockholm to Moscow.

And now, I go home.

I recently heard a quote that said “home is wherever they want you to stay longer”…so by that definition I think I have home in a few places and for that I am thankful.

so…

I was back in Toronto in September for a short visit. Being in a period of transition I, for the first time, saw the city in a new way, meanwhile striving to get somewhere else. I even hid my feelings until I blurted it out in the car “Do I just want to come home because I have nothing yet to look forward to?”
It was a burden lifted.

Briefly.

Because then, my friend, the journey has been hard. I have spent weeks on end praying, journalling, crying, sitting silently, asking what I should do next.

And all I heard was go.

So, I am.

First stop Cali, next stop Toronto.

Do I have a new job? No. Do I have a plan? Not really.

And for the first time it’s okay because in this season, this is obedience and it’s the one of the most freeing, liberating, peaceful step I have taken.

And it’s exciting.

A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life],
But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.

Proverbs 16:9

So, I take one step. One day at a time. And keep only HIM in sight. For He is the author of my life. And in Him I trust.

 

What I learned about love from a FaceTime Call

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The last two weeks are so have been filled with many a FaceTime or Skype call with friends from all across the world. When I moved abroad twelve years ago these were options that did not exist. I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 50s when my grandmother left Germany for Canada.
As I plan my steps ahead and follow the whisper that God has put on my heart, these calls have become ever increasingly important to me. Much like technology such as Facebook, Whatsapp, FaceTime, Instagram have done, the ability to connect as my feet touch the earth of a hundred different cities means more and more each day.
As I spoke to “meine schwester” in Germany, watching her be a mom, interacting with her gorgeous son, my heart was filled with joy that I cannot comprehend.
As I look to take new steps these moments are so important and have shown me two very important lessons.

 

1. People make you who you are.
I am so grateful for the people who have become an irreplaceable part of my life. Some have made me think differently. Some have encouraged me. Some have challenged me. Some have picked me up when I was down. Some have torn my heart apart. Some have celebrated me. Some have chosen not to. Regardless of the role they have played, they have made me who I am. Whether it’s been in uni or while I have lived abroad, we have almost all parted ways because of distance. And even so, when we need a reminder of who we are, we can pick up the phone or computer and get that reminder.

 

2. Your heart always has enough room.
Many have said that their children have shown them that their heart expands to infinity–that the love they have to give grows. For me, this has been the people I have met along the way. As I meet people, in different cities, countries…I have come to learn that we have been created with the most inexplicable ability to love. As a muscle, your heart needs exercise. It is the same with choosing to love. Whether this means loving a new person or ensuring you keep in touch with that friend you met in whatever place, however many years ago, our capacity to love, I believe, is simply an act of exercising the muscle. Become too insular and your muscle tightens. Live an open life and your muscle expands and is able to expand infinitely. It doesn’t mean that you can have 10,000 friends all at once, only that simply thinking of someone, sending a note or a prayer can be enough. Or maybe a Skype call once every year will do. Love never has to die.

 

3. Distance is nothing when love is involved.
And to much the same thought, when we choose to love someone, when we make room for them in our hearts, distance will never matter. In fact, that distance can grow your love and truly, no one is ever more than a plane ride away. Some of the most incredible friendships I have were those I met in a foreign place, sometimes even for a relatively short period of time.

 

To end this all…I say simply this.
i carry your heart with me. 
no matter where I go. or who I become. you have touched my heart and you are important to me. 
–––
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
ee cummings

Chasing the Dream

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She handed me a notebook and a modern feathered pen and said “never stop writing”.

I cried.

I cried because I knew she was right.

I cried because I knew what I had to do.

And yet, I still stalled.

I am a risk taker. But what others may not see, is that I take calculated risks.

Being a writer is not a calculated risk.

So I stalled. I’ve stalled all summer. I’ve looked for jobs, I have been part of extensive interview processes. I have laughed. I have cried. I have talked. I have prayed.

Oh I have prayed.

And yet the whisper came again. And again.

Many plans are in a man’s mind,
But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). prov 19:21

 

 

And so…with that in mind…I decided to jump and suddenly everything began to fall into place.

And that’s where I end this post…

Watch this Space.

Of Sliding Doors and The In-Betweens

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I only watched the film once, but I still remember that look on Gwyneth Paltrow’s face when the tube doors closed on herself and she watched as she went into the tunnel.

It would be kind of cool if we could have a “sliding doors” moment. One of those moments where we could go back to a time that seemed pivotal in our lives and look what would happen if we had made another decision.

I bumped my head recently, actually, I grabbed a pole that had a sign on it and the sign hit my head. Who freakin’ knew poles MOVED? I didn’t.

My friend text me and said “if this were a movie you would have woken up 12 years ago, having missed your plane to London and never left”. I don’t think he realised how insightful that was.

Dear friends, I have loved my life living abroad. Not only have I experienced the most incredible moments, but the way I have chosen to live has made me the woman I am. In fact, had I not left, some of the pain I dealt with would have, in fact, been much more difficult. God has used these last almost 12 years to show me my dreams, to build my faith, to heal me, to guide me into this next season.

A season that I am still keeping between me and God.

Nonetheless, I have moments where I wonder what life would have been like if I stayed. Where would I be in my faith journey? What path would I have followed? More, I question some of my decisions along the way and think “if only I had gone this way…”.

“If only” moments are genuinely the worst ever. They only ever fill you with regret. So, in the moments when I want to head that direction I try to stop myself and ask, “so what now?” Well, that question, can only be answered when we are at a place of rest or peace…otherwise it is the MUDDIEST OF MOMENTS.

An amazing Swedish friend once told me that he believed this next season of mine was a season of rest. Yeah, so….I didn’t and in the end it has taken probably a year longer than I needed to finally really be able to ask “so what now” from a rested, peaceful and totally trusting place.

The journey has been one of self-discovery, vulnerability and faith than I have truly ever taken before. When I moved to London, I had a purpose. When I moved to Sweden, I had a purpose…and now…now I have a new purpose, one that isn’t as cemented, one that isn’t as guaranteed and how that journey will play out is not as clear.

AND OH EM GEE it is scary. It’s so much easier to step out when there is security.

But aren’t the greatest moments, the most incredible bits are when we jump, leap, take a risk and most importantly…listen to that still small voice inside (you know the one that we hear over and over again and try to ignore).

It is when we follow that voice, the dreams it is whispering into your spirit, it’s then where the leap becomes a small step.

The Art of One Day at a Time

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I was talking to a girl friend the other day and my mother’s voice came out.

“Stop trying to figure it all out.”

I think my generation has a real issue with wanting to know how it all ends before it even begins. Maybe it’s because we feel a bit like the rug was pulled out from under our feet. Somewhere in this lifetime we realised that the legacy we have been left is one of uncertainty. Certainly we have many options, many opportunities and advantages that did not exist before. But we also certainly have much less commitment, less follow through, a world in which many of us question whether we want to hand down to a new generation.

I will leave my soliloquy of the state of humanity, the world and why it got this way to another day…I speak only today of the effect it has had on us.

Because of all the uncertainty we live in, we seem to find it hard to commit, plan, take risks until we think we have the end figured out.

Except we can’t. We don’t.

And although I believe that there are many benefits to living a life where we spend our money on experiences and not things, where we explore the world, where we open our homes, our cars, our couches to people, we are still so afraid. We are afraid of stock market crashes, losing our jobs, high divorce rates and broken hearts. Because many of the things that were once stable are now uncertain, it makes seemingly normal decisions of our parents, grandparents and generations before us, be questioned and even left unanswered.

So, then how do we jump?

How do we decide to take a leap of faith?

Honestly. I am simply glad that, as followers of Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13

Some would call it intuition, some “that feeling deep inside”, but I know that in those moments when I don’t know, when I am afraid and I ask…

I get the answers.

In times where I don’t know what is next, or I am waiting on answers…I breathe in, stop, slow down and ask.

And in an uncertain world…

For that I am grateful.