Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Conclusion and a Beginning.

(the overlook of Tana from the Rova)

It has been quite some time since I have posted on this blog. This is mainly due to the fact that since I last posted the pace of life has become increasingly fast and chaotic. Still I often do wish I took more time to place my messy thoughts onto this "platter" in an attempt to process and record the sort of refinement time brings to us all.

I am writing this as I look out the window of my family's house in Antananarivo, Madagascar. It is January 22nd, and it is my last day here before I head back to the wintery world of the United States. Spending the past month here has been an incredible time of refreshment and rest. Yet it has also been a time of stirring and conviction. The Lord has held me with steadfastness and with the same hands He has performed His practice of pottery on my heart, firmly pulling me toward Him and then gently smoothing out the rough edges. Such has been the past month of my time spent here on this big island.

Returning to Madagascar after completing three semesters of college has caused me to view my eight years of living here through a different kind of lens. I have come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a "sojourner" on this earth, a permanent "vazaha" (Malagasy word, for foreigner). Caught between two very different worlds, I find myself longing more and more for another one, and desperately desiring to see it come "on earth as it is in Heaven." Seeing the stark contrast between the excess of the United States and the neediness of Madagascar has caused me to ask tough questions of myself and of Christ. How would the life of the King I follow look on this island? How would it look in the United States? If He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow regardless of circumstances, then how can I too seek to be consistent in my imitation of Him, independent of time or place?  My time here has certainly aided me in posing such questions, as well as, finding a few answers.

I hope to find the chance in the coming months to share on this blog more specifically the thoughts and questions that have been milling about in my mind during this time, along with some photos (which speak more eloquently then I ever could). It is my prayer that these posts might cause you to ponder the big questions you might have of this thing called life and inspire you to seek truth in answering them. I also hope that you can find the courage to share what you uncover because I very much believe that it is in the vulnerable exchange of stories that we grow.

Leaving Madagascar always feels a bit like finishing your favorite book. You finish the last sentence and instead of closing the back cover you immediately feel the impulse to turn back to your favorite page and read it over and over and over again, letting the words soak deeper in. It is different this time though. I am not sure when I will be able to pick up this book again, and that is a hard thing.

When its all said and done you can either put your book back on its lonely shelf or you can pass it on. A dear friend once said to me that "a book on a shelf is no good at all." And so I have concluded that this favorite of mine must be passed on.

This island's red earth has stained my heart making it beat more wildly for the world, inviting me into adventure and stirring my spirit to dive deeper into the crimson flow of Christ's love. Words cannot envelope my gratitude to the Lord for taking me on the crazy ride He did. And so now I tie the thick leathery pages of my time spent here with a piece of "vita gasy" (island made) rope and place them at my side making room for the new pages to come.

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