As we haul bags into a stuffy taxi to make our way to the airport, he leans over toward my frowning face with a smile and says, “You know, I think maybe going on vacation isn’t good for you. It’s too hard for you to go back.” He is right. As I mentally prepare myself for the “going back” it is always hard. I sip my last Decaf-Venti-Iced-Nonfat-Vanilla Latte (say that fast!) that I ordered in English, and I think over my life.
I have always known that I would leave, and move overseas. I knew the first time, the time when we filled the big, yellow bags to the brim and smiled in front of them. We were full of energy and excitement as we said goodbye to our family, our friends, and the life we knew. We were off to begin an adventure, the excitement of new things, and the allure of the unknown.
The difference is that now, six years later, I know what I am choosing to come back to. I know how the dog yelps non-stop day after day after day, crowding out my sleep, and wearing me down like Chinese water torture. I know the feeling of sweat dripping constantly down that spot where cleavage would be—if I had cleavage. I know that sinking feeling when the electricity goes off again, and it is anybody’s guess as to when it might come back on. I know the smell of the garbage piles on the side of the road, the ickiness of full sewers, and the constant noise of a city too packed onto its tiny island frame.
Yes, I know there will be those moments when I dream of pulling a Wonderwoman dive out of the taxi to crawl back under the fresh white duvet cover—with the remote—to watch Cake Boss until I fall asleep.
Then I remember the why. This life is short, and I want to live it surrendered, not comfortable. Jennie Allen, in her book Anything, says, “If we believe that this life is temporary, that belief alone changes how we live it.” I want this temporary life to be one that I cannot live on my own, one in which I need His strength for each and every day. Living in this way brings joy deep down in my soul. My sweet Jesus gave it all for me on the cross. He loves me so intensely, and He has given to me the chance to offer back to Him a life of sacrifice.
The truth is, my life (the messy one where I have to rely on Him to get me through) is more beautiful than any sea view, any candlelit dinner, or any afternoon spent journaling at Starbucks. The messy life I have, the one HE chose for me, is far more beautiful than any comfortable, relaxing moment I can imagine, because HE is in it.
Yes, now—knowing exactly what I am in for—I choose it all again.
Question to consider: What does it look like to “choose here” in your corner of the world?