I’ve had a fear of bridges for as long as I can remember. It’s an irrational fear but I can’t go over a bridge without feeling like the car is going to plummet into a watery grave or I’ll be completely impulse driven and walk off the edge. Yet bridges can be beautiful. We just drove over one that, while possibly fatal, overlooked a gorgeous valley with a peaceful river hemmed by trees that even the best Hudson River School landscape painter couldn’t enhance. I had this overwhelming sense of dread and fear yet a complete appreciation of the beauty around me. That most aptly wraps up how I’m feeling right now.
My heart is heavy. It’s the type of heavy that makes it hard to sleep. I usually sleep on my right side but with this lead-weighted heart, it feels like my heart will crush my lungs and I’m left gasping for breath. I just mixed a physical and emotional description but its as close as I can get to depicting this feeling without actually giving you my heart.
This feeling of breathlessness and a heaviness of heart is because I am downright sad. The wonderful people I’ve spent time with this week will never be in the same place with me ever again. I’ll come to visit of course, but things will never be the same (everything is forever changing, remember?)
I’m also downright terrified. I’ve learned much about God and myself and life in a week (we will touch on this later) and as I approach home, I can already feel this slipping away. The old frustrations and confusions and struggles are waiting to welcome me back. Also waiting are my family, friends, to-do list, shower, and bed–all of which I’m eagerly anticipating.
So here comes the beautiful river and trees and serenity part that lies beneath my deathtrap bridge of over thinking and fear and sadness.
This week was good for me. Other than seeing everyone mesh and grow into a family and stronger children of God, I got to serve others in perhaps the simplest form of meeting needs. The majority of my time was spent in soup kitchens ranging form a very high-tech program to churches with kitchens to a small facility in a shady section that ran like clockwork and seated 22 people yet fed 400 people in 3 hours. I did some street ministry and prayer walks which were good but not life-changing, which was also perfectly fine. Oh, and my partner and I dominated in euchre all week. Good times were had by all (except possibly our euchre opponents).
So even though I’m going to miss my 3D Visioners like crazy, there is beauty in knowing they are on fire for God and will do amazing things for Him. In an interesting stroke of timing, we just passed the exit of Grove City. The idea of new friends and experiences and adventures is beautiful too–even if it is overshadowed by my fear of losing those I love so much now.
So even though I’m terrified of reverting back to my old self, with my soul in shambles, there is a new serenity in knowing that God can put it back together and I don’t have to. I’m a realist. I know my struggles won’t disappear in this life time. I know my soul will be in shambles once again, and probably sooner than I’d like. But I’m a realist. I know that my God fixed the problem of an irredeemable human race and can surely fix me.
Since I abandoned my previous day by day structure (for an excellent play-by-play please visit: http://northoakschurch.org/?p=2339) I’m sure I’ve missed some details and important revelations and good stories. However, there is value to consistency so I’m going to relate in as concise of terms possible (a lost cause at this point, I know) what I have learned during a week of serving God in NYC.
- Just because my comfort zone is getting larger and larger and proportionally harder and harder to break out of, it doesn’t mean that the things I participated in didn’t have impact
- Serving others is ultimately about, well, serving others and about serving God. Even if I didn’t have a huge epiphany it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t significant.
- I need to slow down myself and my thoughts.
- When I pray for others, I become personally invested in their lives. Therefore, I find it easier and easier to care about their well-being. This gives new light to the idea of praying for one’s enemies (or at least the people you’d rather avoid). It’s more than a test of forgiveness, it may just be the best way to eliminate having enemies.
- The thoughts that occupy our thoughts the most and dictate our actions are the things we “worship”. Yet these things do not love me in return. They don’t redeem me, tell me I’m beautiful or worthy, give me peace, protect me, save me, or offer eternal life. But God does. So why worship the things that enslave me and rob me of happiness instead of the God who will set me free and give me true joy?
- The value in being real.
- God puts me where I need to be for a reason.