Something beautiful happens in me when I take a walk. I feel like it’s a moment in time and space that is all completely mine. I am free to think to process, to stop and gaze at the massive flowers that seem to only bloom in Sydney, and it just gives me time to breathe. I must say that my favorite thing about living in Australia has been these quiet moments. These moments that allow me to catch my breath and make me feel like everything is going to be okay. Where I can sit in my favorite spot and exhale and surrender.
During this time, I take a moment to think about all the treasures that I have managed to find (with the grace of God only of course). From favorite coffee shops, to favorite new discovered drinks-coconut hot chocolate from Max Brenner- to the beautiful people that I have had the privilege to call friends & whom have been with me on this two year journey. We’ve cried together and have invited one another into the deepest recesses of our fears and let each other shine a bright light-like an explorer in a cave with his flashlight- to feeling full bellied and giddy like a school girl knowing that God has nothing but the best in store for me (& us), that from here on out the best is yet to come.
But of course there are moments where I have to spit and rub on the rocks of my life until they shine and attempt to see the hidden gold in them. Kind of like Michelangelo and the statue of David,
“He was given a block of marble that the other sculptors had rejected as too tall, too shallow, and flawed to be of any value. But Michael Angelo picked up his hammer and chisel, knocked a knot off what became David’s heart, and started to work.*”
I can dismiss situations and challenges in my life as too unfair, too horrible, too shameful. And I can boil life down to bills, and problems and disease and fail to to truly live.
On this journey south of the equator, I had moments where I honestly thought to myself that I had lost everything (friendships, materialistic things etc). Nothing could be more than the opposite. God gave me the privilege to discover myself and Him in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. When I kept looking at things through a microscope I got a microscopic perspective and God gently took the microscope out of my hand and handed me a telescope and boy what a difference!
I realized that following him through rivers, mountains and valleys and oceans is far more rewarding and soul refining that just walking through green pastures. We will walk through dark valleys-God never said we wouldn’t but He did say He would be with us. And I couldn’t be more excited! Simply because I get to see a different facet (a facet no one can take away) of who He is, and that just takes my breath away.
The battle scars obtained through this life become well worn- like the lines on an elderly woman’s face, the story in her eyes and even our favorite quilt, each layer of dust and time adding only to the treasure of its value and story like rubies and old wine.
And if I had the privilege of following Him all the way to Sydney I can’t imagine where it will be next. I know it’ll probably be at home for a season, but I am believing that even in that old familiar place He will help me see the gold and euphoric sunsets. From Hunter Valley, Melbourne (South Australia), Palm Beach to the alleys and back roads of Sydney, coffee shops and bus stops-I have heard his voice, and its audacious… I have gained more than I have lost, and am learning to see life through a set of eyes that can unearth its true raw beauty.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. –Elizabeth Bishop One Art-
“Things are richer and brighter than I thought, now that I have slowed down enough to see them. I can see that for years I have been waiting to live this way, and at the same time have been very afraid of what I’d have to give up for it. And in some ways, I have given up everything, but at the same time, nothing essential is missing. Everything was lost, and even more has been recovered, like things that are carried out to sea and then wash up on the same beach, alongside entirely new and glimmering treasures.” –Shauna Niequist Cold Tangerines-