Finding Christ Out of Context

Originally published Tuesday, 07 January 2014.

A strange thing happens to me when I travel.

Those (rare) times I find myself in a different part of the country, or in a different realm of the world altogether, I catch myself looking for a friend.

I strain my eyes through the murkiness of the unfamiliar. A facial tick practically begging for a friendly face.

Oh yes, the sights and sounds are always beautiful. Always exhilarating. The dusty streets and the 4/4 rhythms of the Dominican Republic's heartbeat city, Santa Domingo. The red pepper sun rising over the table-top terrain of Dallas, Texas. The rain that fell like the ticks from the second-hand of a clock outside of the very first Starbucks in Washington...

But, everywhere I go, I play a game of Where's Waldo on the streets. And, almost like a friendship mirage, I see a person whose face reminds me of a coworker, or a friend I went to college with.

I know it's not really them, of course. But there is something that my heart and mind agree on. They strain for the recognizable in the times of being un-home.

Seasons of life are sort of like traveling, too.

I noticed this recently when I was sitting with a group of college girlfriends. Sisters, really.

There were chicken and waffles (purchased slightly on a dare, and slightly because there is something causally appealing about the salty-sweet-crunchy combo). There was coffee. There was roasted red pepper soup with gouda.

There were moments of tangled catching up stories. Conversations beginning with deciding who starts first? Sharing details of wedding planning, white dresses, travel plans, career moves, stale heartbreak, boyfriend-swapping.

And there was so much love.

It made me homesick for a different season than the one I'm currently in. It made me wish for the season when I was surrounded by college courses, paper deadlines, coffee shops in libraries (total genius), and those sisters.

Nearly four years have passed since we've moved on from that time in our lives. Four years. So many new chapters have opened and shut. So many frayed pages of our journals have turned.

The funny thing is, though, that I'm finding God in these different seasons. In new churches, in new jobs, in new relationships, in new neighborhoods and levels of my bank account statement.

My eyes strain for the familiar through this twists and changes, and God is there. Despite what I am inclined to believe, it's not a trick that my mind plays on me as I travel to these different pockets of my life's journey.

He's there through the heartbreak, through the disappointment, through the resolutions and projects and parties and books and reading and writing. He's there even through the goodness of it all.

Part of the joy of this season is discovering where He is. How He's worked. How His plan has unraveled flawlessly in my life. Despite my lack of trust or trying.

And it's never a mirage. It's a way of life.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc