This year I have done quite a bit of traveling.
Which inevitably means I have spent quite a bit of time on airplanes.
I am just not a road-tripping sort of gal. Air travel is more my thing...I don't want to dig too deep into it...but I would guess it has something to do with my lack of patience....
For as long as I can remember, airplanes have been one of my favorite places to journal and spend time with Jesus. I guess it has something to do with being high up in the sky that makes me feel closer to Him or something. Also, I just love the thrill of traveling to new places and to see old friends and so it usually gets me in writing moods and mind spaces.
On my last journey of sorts, I actually got to travel at a normal hour of the day...like the afternoon. Usually (because I like to fly as cost efficiently as possible) I end up with early morning or late night flights that leave me disoriented and in desperate need of STRONG coffee by the time I arrive at wherever I am going.
Anyways. On my flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago I was wide awake. It was 3:00 in the afternoon, I had had plenty of coffee, and I was on my way to see my best friend after nearly an entire year apart! I was definitely in a writing head space. I got myself my traditional airplane beverage-iced ginger ale- and put pen to paper.
Before I knew it I had filled TEN pages. TEN. People...it's only a 55 minute flight to Chicago from Pittsburgh. I am almost certain that is a new record even for me! But at 30.000 feet above land and surrounded by blue skies and puffy white clouds the thoughts and inspiration just kept flowing and so I just kept on writing. In fact the inspiration was so strong that I did the same thing from Chicago to Tulsa!
Today I am bringing you a post I like to call Plane Parables. Things Jesus revealed to me in the clouds about my life in a very personal way. I love when he speaks my language and gets on my level!
(I will spare you all ten pages.)
I have probably said this before, but let me just say it again. I LOVE that God is such a personal God! I love that He speaks our language! He is such a big, important, HOLY God whose language and intelligence and understanding are so far above ours. He could speak to us in His own language without regard of us knowing or understanding who He is-- simply demand our worship because He can...But He is so gracious and loving and kind and He delights to know us and for us to know Him...and so he speaks in ways that we can understand and He reveals Himself in ways that we can grasp-our own context-so we can understand who He is and genuinely worship Him and love Him because of it. And also He speaks so personally. He recognizes that He has created us as individuals and we all have our own language and context and background. He finds ways of revealing Himself and speaking so that we can each grasp Him. That just makes my heart so full and so happy knowing that the creator of the universe cares about having a personal conversation with me!
On a plane.
When am I not these days?
Places to go. People to see. Life to live.
Adventure is out there.
( I will now skip over a large amount of time spent reading/praying through Psalms. Somehow I always end up reading Psalms on airplanes.)
#1 Long Distance Relationships
You know. I always laugh about long distance relationships. How I've sort of had to become really good at them because always I am far form people I love. This to me is evidence that You build us for our callings because as missionaries we are forced to live torn between the people we love and the places You send us. So learning to stay connected over miles and years and timezones is a must. Something that feels very natural to me. But then I think, it may feel that way because I've been in a "long distance relationship" with you for always! I learned how to stay connected to people I love from far away from you. I mean, it wasn't supposed to be that way, but when we sinned and You saw we could' t be together in the same place right away, You found a way to reach out to us, to connect with us, to keep the relationship going. You sent us a letter. For a while through messengers. Then in writing. And then when you couldn't take it any longer You planned an "in person" trip. Because of course presence is the best thing in relationship-even with You. And that keeps us going for a while when we are not together, the memories of being together, until we can be in the same place again.
There are lots of ways tons stay in touch in long distance relationships. Talking on the phone, sending postcards and pictures, and letters to let them know we are thinking of each other. At any rate, we have to decide to live in an endless conversation. I suppose my choice in our relationship has been letter writing. That's such a fun, sweet way of thinking about that.
#2 Language and Culture
I suppose the point of learning other languages and cultures is a lot like the way that You speak our language and culture....people will always understand and grasp things and find more meaning when it is presented in their native tongue. Even if they know another language or culture relatively well! The deepest understanding and expression will almost always happen in that native tongue.
And I suppose the context is like language and regional dialects. Meeting people where they are. Understanding their stories and their backgrounds...their frame of reference. Just like You do for us.
I must learn to do this as a missionary. I must learn to speak the language, become familiar with different dialects, and understand the context of these people by learning their backgrounds and their frame of reference. I need to learn their stories and do my very best to walk in their shoes. And I do these things because I love them-because YOU love them and because I want them to come to know You in the purest most authentic way possible. I must learn to present You in their native tongue-their context so they can begin to hear You speak on that deep, personal level.
#3 Blood trumps ALL
Oh how I love my family. They can be so cheesy and cookie-cutter and traditional vanilla at times which drives quirky, eccentric, eclectic, banana ice cream, hippie-adventurer me insane....but they are my people and I love them. Family is such a curious thing. But so lovely. Another of Your brilliantly beautiful ideas. Take all of these uniquely designed, flawed, sinful humans and put them together in little groups that are bound together by blood. A sure way to stretch and grow people and a cool way to demonstrate Your love to us. Bound by blood. We can run we can hide we can deny knowing them, but blood trumps all and you can't ever escape family in the sense that you will always have the same blood running through your veins.
And so it is with You. I can run, I can hide, I can deny ever knowing You, but still it is Your blood pumping through me giving oxygen to my heart and lungs. Still I belong to You because Your blood is running through me. Always I will be Your daughter.
What another brilliantly beautiful idea! The way music can take average spoken words and bring them to life with a melody. And the really miraculous thing is how the same words make deeper roots in the human heart and soul when put to music. One of my favorite gifts in life is music and the ability to experience and create it and share it. I love that music breaks down walls and things that divide us as humans from different language and cultural backgrounds. Music crosses all of those things and links us together. Music is the same in every single language. And the idea that a room filled with people representing every language and culture in the world could listen tot he same musical composition and feel and understand the very same things...w o w. Only Jesus could think up something so wonderfully magical! I love that music gets us all on the same page!
Well. Just a little bit of random-ocity from my journal this Friday. Perhaps a few things to think about and appreciate a little bit more in your life in days and moments to come. Make the extra effort to reach out and connect to your loved ones far away, hug your family a little bit tighter, work harder to relate to people in their own context and take a few moments to let some music speak to your soul....and if you happen to be flying high (on an airplane) anytime soon, grab a journal and let yourself get inspired over a glass of ice cold ginger ale. You never know what you will get down on paper at 30.000 feet in the clouds.
Happy, happy Friday, friends!