Every once in a while we have the opportunity to use the word, “life changing” to describe an experience. How very often do we take that chance? How keen are we to jump into challenge and search for our courage? How often do we see through it to the point of speaking these words. How often do we mean them? “Life changing….”
I took part in an internship at Bronx Bethany Community Church of the Nazarene in Bronx NewYork through the college I recently graduated from, Eastern Nazarene College. The professors of this class told us we would be “helping kids express themselves through art with a focus on justice.” Looking at all of this now I can see that at the time this label was so attractive, yet such a sadly summarized piece of information to describe what would happen on this journey. Regardless though, I chose to pursue this way for reasons alluring, although unknown to me at the time, and I knew things would change and grow from this path, because don’t they always? I knew I was going in to love people and be in community with them, and I knew I’d form relationships that would shape me and my life, but I did not know just how profoundly I would be affected by the love that illuminates the hearts of people holding theirs open for others to share in. I didn’t have even the slightest understanding of what could become of this path. I had believed this internship was to teach transformation and power to little minds and bodies. We came to instill expression and impart a sense of justice in their little hearts. I had no idea the enormity of the lessons I’d soon encounter, and I couldn’t have understood the most truthful knowledge; just how powerful these children really are. This direction has been such a blessing. Wherever God directs me is my Home.
Transformation: from fear to love, dark to light, silence and reservation to laughter and those little moments which spark and expand to flame, music and names I would never have known without God. I wasn’t completely conscious to the fact that our calling was more than teaching and placing ourselves in new situations. We know that purpose is imperative, and we look for purpose as if it lives in the places we are too often told to find it, as if we are defined by the method in which we make our money. Our most pure purpose, though, lies in our living. It’s not so much about finding or defining ourselves, but simply “being” there. This is why the undefinable, in between, little moments mean so much. This is why people and their hearts are the most beautiful things. This is why people, through their giving of love, give life.
This path is lit with love and coercing me that it is the only way. The only true way to live, to step up, to love. God blesses us when we have the courage to walk with him where his feet hit sand- beyond our comfort zone and easy land. If I had allowed fear to cause me to back down, I would have missed knowing what it feels like to love every single second of life. I would have missed what it feels like to know I am meant to be in this very place at this very moment. I would have no idea what I was missing.
The dancing, playing, singing, conversations, field trips, peanut butter and jelly, friendships, and millions of hugs, whether sweetly served or simply attacked, will forever hum with a permanent refrain of intricate construction in my heart. It’s about the small things we’ll never forget. It’s about the most tangible, shapeless and senseless things; joy, peace and love. It’s about the action of loving that emanates life.
True Joy is when we allow ourselves to be lifted from our stationary titles; to be bold, open and new; when we act without caution and respond without question. When we are strong in uncertainty because of our assurity in the spirit that is directing thee, all life is renewed.
This is the life of following my one true love. It is brilliantly beautiful beyond description, and it is constantly challenging and giving. Everything: our strengths, our weaknesses, our gifts, our insecurities, our pride, our definitions, our knowledge, our ability and capacity to love; to love deeply and be loved- to know through this love… everything is challenged and everything is strengthened. When we let courage filter in through the empty spaces of our inadequacies, we have to trust in the decision to follow God’s plan before even acknowledging fear, and we then see the beauty that we could never create for ourselves.
God wants to walk with us, but he will not walk in our comfort zones, so if we want to walk with God, we must leave our comfort zones to join his footpath. There we find everything we’d ever wanted but maybe weren’t willing to wait for before. There, wherever He directs us, we find our home.