I’ve said before that I could travel the world with the right person beside me. My problem had always been knowing how to focus my attention when the choices seem to be endless. I had hoped to find a complimentary part, someone who was better at organization and making plans, to help overcome my own deficiencies.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t married by twenty-one you risk being typecasted. And, after three decades, nobody gives you credit anymore for your unrealized potential and your marriageability is more likely to be determined by that existing list of faults and failures. That was the case with me—I was, as one ambitious young woman put it, “thirty years old living in Milton” and was thus, in her eyes, ineligible for so much as a first date.
Fortunately, while the door closed for those who had long wrote me off (and those whom, after much anguish, I had finally determined would never fully accept me as one of their own) there was someone who saw me as irreplaceably special. It was a person who was on her last hopes before we found each other and someone who held me together when my hopes in the church of my youth were lost.
In my lowest moment I found a precious bhest, someone who could look beyond my grief and loss of faith, who encouraged me to attend a church (any church) and believed in me. It was in the midst of the struggle that I decided to visit this extraordinary person who lives on the complete opposite side of the world. I purchased tickets nine months ago for a flight that is scheduled to depart at 12:50am on December, 26th.
The sermon yesterday, on Christmas Eve, was titled “going back to the beginning” and took us back to the starting point of the canonical Gospel. The text, Matthew 1:1-25, covered the genealogy of Christ, centered on Joseph’s decision to accept Mary as his wife despite her pregnancy, the prospect of raising a son not his own, and the potential harm to his reputation. It seemed a fitting send off for someone set to embark on a similar journey of faith and decision.
It is a strange conclusion to a tumultuous year of change—of ends, some painful, of unexpected new beginnings and a few noteworthy accomplishments. First leaving my church of thirty years, after holding unto a sliver of hope for an amicable resolution, left me feeling like one cut from their tether and reeling through space. Next a new job that utilized natural talents once thought forever buried. In the spring being a bedside witness to the passing of my only remaining grandma. In the fall receiving a first rental check. It has been a chaotic year that has left me with mixed emotions, of sad moments intertwined with happiness, and culminating with this unprecedented trip.
I am getting ready to board that flight. It will be my first solo trip to a foreign country and only the second time in my life (other than a drive into Canada) I’ve been out of the United States. My flight will take me from NYC to Seoul, South Korea. And, Lord willing, if Trump and Kim Jong Un can keep the nuclear war on hold, I will continue from there and arrive in Manila (the capital city of the Philippines) in approximately twenty-one hours and fifteen minutes.
That “right person” is not physically beside me, but they have made planning a trip to the other side of the world possible for me and have left me wondering if this is God’s answer to my prayer a few years ago when I asked to go through whatever it took to make the impossible possible.
I have a new job, a new church and what seems the beginning of a second act quite different from the first. It is amazing what can be accomplished in one year…