We’re back in Cluj, reunited with Broderic’s family, and settling into another house. I’m grateful for a house, but the ongoing uncertainty and instability causes caution in the heart; don’t get too comfy. But I want to be settled!
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.James 4: 13-14
I’ve come to realize that some of us prefer thinking in the past, some are truly oriented in the present, while others find themselves constantly peering into the future. Do you have a preference? As more of a futurist, I’m learning the liberation of the present, but to remain there is no small task for many of us.
Upon arriving, I received a gift from a Ukrainian refugee friend. A pillow, with the words, “Home.”
My first thought was to give the pillow to one of my girls. It’s soft, and the girls adore the yellow and blue flag of their home country. But something inside me paused, a still small voice inside said, “This is for you, embrace it.” I resisted this at first, the combination of the Ukrainian flag and the word ‘home’ represents so much loss, for so many.
The pillow has found it’s place on my hopefully temporary single bed. It’s become at once a reminder of what’s been lost, and the universal longing of every heart, my heart.
Allowing myself to admit I’m unsettled, that I’ve lost the seeming capacity to futurize much of anything concretely, is an invitation to be present. The invitation, I think, is to trust God’s unfolding plans for us in the context of wherever we find ourselves. The opposite, as the verse continues, is to assert our future plans, to trust in them, without any reference to God’s intimate awareness and involvement in our lives.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”James 4: 15
An upended life, from whatever the cause, seems to set our hearts on a quiet (or not so quiet) pursuit of rootedness. I don’t want to spend a day more than I need to wondering where we should be living and putting down roots. Yet, here we are, uncertain and longing for home, a place to belong, to be known, and to know.
Today. We can, and should root in today, this moment. The sense of home is in the present, as much as love is. Can any of us actually love in the past or future? Home, as close as the hug of a pillow? To root in the present, I’m learning to let go of anticipated outcomes, at least the ones I believe will satisfy me if I wrestle them into the present.
We still plan. We still spend time envisioning a world that could be. Yet, we’re learning to lay them back down, as a offering of trust. Trusting with an open hand, a loosening grip. Trusting not in an outcome but the goodness of the One who made me, and joining the God who knows what it means to live in the suspended, trusting space. Trusting that this God, this Father, this Son, this Spirit, knows the deepest longings of my heart; the longing for the welcoming, belonging home. It’s hard to be present, where our disjointed temporal and eternal realities struggle to find resolve. It’s easier to reminisce, or look ahead, at least for me.
Being present, living for today, is to actively trust for an end to the war, an end to all of the separation, and grief abounding in too many hearts today. It’s to feel the weight of this moments reality, and yet, find the gift of Peace within the storm. I’m hugging that pillow, and learning that God’s goodness meets us in the most unlikely places when we’re needing a little reminder just how near He is.
I believe our Father knows this longing in each of us. I also believe the Spirit delights when we hug our hopes, while whispering, “Father, let your will be done.. in me, through me, and in the world that you love.”