So, if you've been following my blog, or maybe stalking me on facebook, you know that I've been on a bit of an adventure over the last 18 months. I have had the honour of living in Australia, Cambodia, Hawaii, Ghana and Togo all in the space of a small number of months, meeting and growing with some really beautiful people. I recently calculated that, if you stick all the flights I've been on end to end, I flew 2.62 times around the earth in 15 months, and just before Christmas, that string of flights brought me back to Montreal.
And now, I'm home.
Obviously, there's a lot I could say about how much I've grown because of the things I've experienced, how living in Africa has affected the way I live here, how I've learned so much about leadership and people and myself. And I probably should say all of it.
But some where in the midst of everything that was going on, I stopped writing. And that's kind of a big deal. For whatever reason, I stopped doing something I love. It's not that I stopped loving it... I just stopped doing it. Then a few weeks ago, I started again, finding myself with a whole pile of stuff I wanted to write about, fully inspired.
"How come it's taken you this long to post this then?"
Good question. When I stopped writing, I guess I kind of felt like I failed at something I had originally resolved to do. I think that we as people do this thing where if we feel like we've failed at something, or if we've left something for another thing, we allow that to stop us from EVER going back to it. I'm not sure if it's a pride thing, a fear of failure thing, or maybe just a thing, but I see it over and over again in my life and in the lives of other people.
This season in the church is called Lent. As a reflection of the 40 days of temptation Jesus spent in the desert before he was put to death on Good Friday, many christians give up something for the 40 days prior to Easter. I can't even tell you how many times I've heard of people starting out with a great resolve to give up facebook or to give up junk food or to take on excercising or to do other crazy things. But when they mess up, they give up.
There's something about messing up that traps us into giving up.
Giving up facebook would be a good thing (for lots of us).
Giving up junk food? A good thing.
Giving up smoke or taking on excercising or reading the bible? good things.
Writing about life and love and success and failure? A good thing.
There is something that seems to creep in with our mess-ups that convince us that when we're down, we should stay down. That when you're hurt, you're broken beyond repair.
I met someone recently who feels that she will never be able to give herself fullly in a future relationship because after reseolving to wait for her husband, a few months ago she slept with her boyfriend. They broke up shortly after, and she regrets doing it, but is now left with this thing that's telling her she's unworthy. It's consuming her and it's governing the way she thinks about herself, her future relationships, and her relationship with God. But here's the thing: She's this beautiful girl who was a beautifully pure heart, who speaks life into others, and who has a brilliant future.
I guess what I'm saying is that we get stuck in our mess-ups and it doesn't make sense. The mess-up is usually a teeny little blotch on what is a really beautiful painting. The Artist can touch it up with ease, but here's us, insisting that we scrap the whole piece.
From the Gospel of Luke:
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
This is obviously about way more that not writing for a few months. This is about how I am growing. When you mess up - and believe me, I know what that's like - you get back up and you get back into the game. You who are now is by no means determined by where you've been and what you've done and how you've messed up.
You press on. You rebuild, recommit, and jump in again. You allow yourself to be touched up and, perhaps, made more beautiful.
Here's to writing again.