This is a repost from my previous blog, originally written on July 2, 2013. I’m thankful to revisit this blog today. It was my reflection during a time of big transition in life. I’m in the middle of a new life transition again, but God’s reminding me that it’s just a part of a story He began a long time ago. I feel hopeful as I remember that although things have changed, I still know where I’m going.
During our mission trip to Bolivia and Argentina, we had a chance to stop by Iguazu Falls. In a strange way, witnessing Iguazu Falls was the culmination of everything I’ve been learning in the past year or so. At the end of the walkway through the jungle, I leaned against the railing hanging over a cliff to look at the waterfall. I had this sublime experience.. It seized me slowly, a heavy quietness, and I couldn’t blink or breathe. I lost myself for a moment. I felt like a hollow vessel, an instrument, and the waters’ roars boomed through my chest and rang in my bones. I was enraptured. It felt like worship.
A stream of words rushed through my mind while I stood there—words, and all their emotional baggage, with all the feelings and memories and moments of insight tied to each of them: glory, awe, power, surrender, worship, love. Each thought burst open and lit brightly like points on a constellation, gradually drawing together as if to reveal some grand design, a higher understanding. I felt myself rising, transcending.
But then, it dwindled… And then it dispersed in a puff, like a clap of dust. The moment was gone. The quiet let go of me, and I stood there sober. All that was left was a whole crap load of water, falling. I rejoined my team to take a bunch of touristy group pictures, and then we turned back through the jungle. Walking back, in between the laughter and the small talk, I think I could hear God saying something to me.
In January of 2009, I left the Bay and drove to SoCal to start a new chapter in my life—being a student at Biola, helping Will at Calvary Hosanna, becoming a youth pastor in Temecula, etc. These past few years were filled with so many beautiful, amazing, and painful things, memories I don’t know how to tell. But walking away from Iguazu, the words God spoke to me to bring this long and beautiful season of my life to an end were so simple: “Come home.” Haha. Simple. Anti-climactic, even. No profound insight, no divine epiphany, no drama or show. Just a gentle reminder that He’s still holding my hand, still walking with me, always leading me back to Him. I can’t help but think that there in front of Iguazu, God had brought me thousands of miles across the world, into the jungle, just so I could remember that there’s only one thing my heart will ever be looking for: my first true Love, my closest Companion and most faithful Friend. That really, at the end of the day, all I want is to be at home, with Him.
I guess this is how real-life stories end their chapters: not with a perfect climax or illuminating resolution, but with a funny feeling that things aren’t finished, that tomorrow’s still coming, and there’s a long way to go. But at the same time, you feel good. You lay down in bed at night, and you’re tired, but happy. I don’t know if there’s ever going to be a “happily ever after” for us in this life, but if there is, I think it’s lived in normal days after work, after the game, after the exam, after the party, after the big event, after the mission trip, in that sobering moment when you go to wash up for bed and take a steady look in the mirror, or in the quiet rhythm looking out your car window on your long drive home. Thank you, Father… And you ease out a deep sigh, content.
I moved back to the Bay this week, but I don’t feel like I’ve come back home. Being back in my old neighborhood and working for my old church feels different and new. It feels more just like the start of another story, another stop on the way there, to home. I wrote down a quote some time ago, and at the time I didn’t really understand what it meant… It just sounded nice haha. I can’t even remember where it’s from. But it’s beginning to make sense to me now:
“Only those on journeys will see the dim paths that lead the way home.”
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest…”
Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.”