Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Crash with the Past This Instant!

I’m not sure how most people mark the passage of time in their minds. For me, the different stages of my life are marked in my memory by places.

I was blessed to have a stable upbringing – ages 0 through 18 were spent in the same town – Salem, Oregon. So, while those years are not marked by changing cities, they are marked by changing schools – elementary, middle and high school. After that, someone must’ve dumped heaps full of ants in my pants, because I haven’t stopped moving around since high school graduation.

First came college. You say Spokane and I think: ages 18 – 21. Then came Colorado Springs, and I think: ages 21 – 24. Next? Bend, Oregon. Ages 24 – 28. Following that: Portland, Federal Way, Wash., Portland again, and now? Salem. Yup; I’ve come full circle and landed right back where I started.

Now, because places equal seasons in my life, you can imagine how I feel when I go back to the places that have defined me. When I visited Spokane for the first time since college graduation for my ten-year reunion, I traveled back in time. Spokane’s streets and restaurants existed for a young, floundering girl who wasn’t ready to move so far away from home, but did so anyway … allowing a fiercely independent young woman to emerge in her place. Colorado Springs birthed a bright career for her as she spread her wings, made mistakes, had a thriving night life, and learned what it was she really believed. Bend became a place of deep inner healing punctuated with fun as a lighthearted twenties-something. Portland and Federal Way hold their own profound moments shaping my personhood. And now Salem? The mid-30s me crashes with my inner child in no graceful terms whatsoever.

I drive the streets of my youth. I walk past the bike shop where my dad bought me my first 10-speed. I visit the shops in the mall I strolled as a teenager, gossiping and laughing with other friends who also got dropped off there by their parents. These are places that exist in the crevasses of my memory, and yet, here they are today – innocently and inviting me in again … the new me, the adult me. And I come to realize – the places of my life do not hold various, chopped-up segments of me, but rather I am one whole and congruent person who holds these special places as key pieces in the puzzle of my formation.

Have you ever confronted not only a place from your past but a former version of you? How have you responded? Is your heart open to the One who delights in masterfully weaving all the disjointed segments of your life together so that they form one beautiful and breathtaking story? Can you let Him hold all of your random yesterdays, average todays, and untold tomorrows so that, more than anything, it’s His story that is renowned through you?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  Revelation 22:13

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

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