“life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
i’m not saying that i’m the biggest soren kierkeggard fan out there–because i’m probably not, nor do i know very much about him. what i do know is that i like this quote, and i think this is the way to sum up this past year–and much of my life.
on thursday, i’ll take my last exam. i’ll have pancakes and laughs and good memories with the beeson ladies (minus becca, sadly). i’ll come finish packing. i’ll have one last hurrah with betsy and indulge in some good mexican food. i’ll kiss all my babies from work goodbye–maybe for the last time. i’ll babysit, and i’ll pack my car, and i’ll drive 342 miles back to the carolinas.
i can definitively say that my homesickness period for college was my first semester of my senior year, roughly from mid-august to mid-february. i can say that my first semester here was without homesickness; however, my second semester was filled with it.
looking back, it wasn’t so much a homesickness but a yearning…for something. for community. for friendship. for change. it’s possibly what fueled my desire to transfer to new orleans earlier this semester. but at the end of the day, i’ve learned two truths, and it’s all in looking back.
first, i’ve come to realize that God truly is sovereign and is in control of ALL things–and this is beautiful. even when i think about how i ended up in birmingham reminds me of His election and the plans He has for me, and how He works them together. because He’s sovereign, He provides, in his timing. even on the bad days, while i might long to start over and be in a new city with my friends…i know that He provides and that He has placed me in birmingham, at beeson. God has been so good this semester and so faithful in placing people in my life who have encouraged me, and i’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to deepen my relationships with others and begin seeking and finding community. and i’m especially thankful for my birmingham family.
second, i had an insight this week as i was frantically trying to learn scriptures for my last new testament exam on the general epistles. i’ve always loved the general epistles, but i walk away from this last section of the class with a greater appreciation for…get this–suffering, sacrifice, and hardship. because it’s all over the place in the new testament. most of the epistles were written to encourage believers who were suffering. the author of hebrews does not tell his readers “don’t worry–if you believe, everything will be fine and you won’t experience hardship.” instead, in hebrews 13 he encourages us to suffer outside the gate, just like jesus. why?
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)
it’s a good reminder for me that suffering is a part of the Christian life. and that i shouldn’t ever really feel “at home” on earth–because my home isn’t it. i shouldn’t be so consumed with life and the things of birmingham, or ellenboro, or columbia, or boston, that i forget that city that is to come, the New Jerusalem, where there will be no sin, and where God will dwell with His people.
it’s a beautiful picture which sparks hope and encouragement even in the midst of sadness, to press on, to finish, to live forward…and to continue–because we truly cannot imagine what is waiting for us on the other side.