This past month – as I turned 40, and also began reading assignments and participating in online chats with fellow students at Asbury Seminary – I have found myself wrestling to keep the moments of anxiety and panic at bay.
The experience of mid-life ponderings (i.e. “I guess it is true – one day, I too will breath my last breath in this body,” and “Why is my faith struggling so much with that reality?”) coinciding with the start of the 3-year Master’s program at Asbury (i.e. “OK, how do I sign-in to this ‘online student portal’ in order to get my assignments?”) has been, well, disorienting.
Of course, along with all of this is the continued search for the next steps forward in our “regular”, daily lives.
Questions revolving around our family: “How are our kids coping with the things they’ve seen in our work with orphans, or addicts, or refugees, particularly given the sharp contrast of that work with the thriving spirit of consumption raging in the society where they live and go to school?” “Should I be worried about the number of weeks that have passed since Charlie and I had a quiet meal together?” “How many weeks have passed since either of us had a decent conversation with our own parents in the States?”
Or our community: “Do the people of that congregation still want to work with us given the work we are doing to support artists, or refugees, or the people from that other church, or from that other country?”
I guess that maybe some of our concerns in this season have a different flavor than those of many of our friends and family living and working in other places. But I think that the substance of these questions we ask ourselves through the various phases of our journeys is the same. Essentially, we just want to know what the end of these path-choices we make will look like, for ourselves, and for the people we love. Of course, we almost never get the privilege of that information.
But, if we’re taking time for prayer and for listening, what we do get are the next few steps, or at least a sense of the direction in which we should be pressing forward. After all, our life is not just about the end, is it? Our life is the journey we get to take until we get to the end.
As I can tell right now, my next steps include seminary, a trip to St. Petersburg in September (pending new visa approval), work in Moria Camp in Lesbos in October, continued “pressing-in” towards the development of the Church and a center dedicated to prayer in this community, raising my kids, and loving and supporting my husband in his life and work. If you’d like to join me in Lesbos, please let me know. If you’d like to support a prayer center here in Estonia in any way, send me a note. If you’d like to help support the seminary costs, contact me and I can get you the information for that.
Thank you so much for walking with us in these things. In everything so many do and in all of the ways so many support us and love us, I think the richest part for which we feel most grateful is simply enjoying each other’s company along the way. 🙂