Over the past few weeks I have had various people tell me that they miss my writing. And more than once that I realized I am missing it. As much as the public part of it was scary, it also gave something back to me that I don’t get from my personal journal. The paper promises me silence, but a shared story gives me a community that recognizes. The feeling of ‘I totally feel what you wrote the other day, I just didn’t know how to express it and you did that for me.’ It started with a training. The trainer googled me and found me blog. During a lunch she said she just couldn’t stop reading. Someone from home told me they missed my stories. Someone here told me they liked how I would often intertwine what I was reading into my stories.
Putting it all together, made me decide that I am going to try to write a bit more regular again. Probably not the every day thing that I did before though. Seriously, I now wonder how in the world I found the time for that, especially with moving to the other side of the world and working at least 9 to 10 hours a day. It took me sometime to get to this point. Because I needed to make a decision. Am I writing for you as a reader or am I writing for me? I guess it’s a bit of both. I am writing for you, because apparently like to read what I think and feel. I am writing for me, because I believe that one of the ways of making your desires and dreams come true, is by working hard. It’s the 10,000 hours theory. Like football players at the world cup. They only get there by working hard for this every single waking minute. Okay, I just used a football metaphor. Who knew that day would ever come?
Besides the working hard, I do believe that the path of working hard isn’t always straight forward, as much as we would like it to be. That’s why I don’t really know why I decided to write today. That’s why I am not even sure where this story will take me. Or why I decide that today was the day to start the online journaling again. I don’t believe much in luck. Or fate. I do believe that there’s a whole sphere of life that isn’t in our control. That we can’t grasp. Mysterious. Beyond our understanding. You can call it whatever you want. I call it God.
And maybe that’s exactly why I am writing again. Because it helps me to process thoughts. Get some clarity on which direction to go. As soon as words are on paper (or a screen), they seem more real. It seems like they matter more. The words hold me accountable. Just at a moment in my life when everything seems clear and secure, I am sacred to get too comfortable in the security that this world might bring. I am confused. I don’t really know what the next step of growth looks like. Because although security and comfort are nice, it’s probably not that mysterious crooked path of camino. Trust me, I figured out that I might be type 9 Enneagram personality, which means I like harmony and peace and order. I like security and comfort and blankets with cheese and wine. I am writing again because I want to be a disciple. And writing helps. At least for me it does and I am getting backed up here by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the book am I currently reading:
The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of absolute insecurity (that is, in truth, into the absolute security and safety of the fellowship of Jesus), from a life which is observable and calculable (it is, in fact, quite incalculable) into a life where everything is unobservable and fortuitous (that is, into one which is necessary and calculable), out of the realm of finite (which is in truth the infinite) into the realm of infinite possibilities (which is the one liberating reality).
– The cost of discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Be still and eat grapes
On Friday evening I bought some grapes. Nothing beats a fresh grapes, some soft cheese, homemade guacamole and glass of cold, white wine on a sunny afternoon. Since they are pretty expensive here, I don’t do that often. As I am typing up this blog, the grapes get finished. And the guacamole. And the cheese. Taking a bit easy on the wine though. Little did I know though that grapes and wine would come back the next morning.
That morning, I went to a meeting on prayer. I gotta admit. I hadn’t even planned to be there. I wanted to be out of Kampala. In green, lush nature. With waterfalls and hiking boots. But plans went different this week. Travel got delayed, travel means changed. So there I was, on a plastic chair in a school court yard. I gotta admit, bits and pieces stuck with me. I jotted a bit in my journal. Noticed myself getting distracted during the conversation. Maybe not so proud of that, but I am cutting myself some slack on a Saturday morning. At the end, we did a round of prayer. I don’t really feel like this is the right place to get into the contents of prayer and what we all discussed, but if you’re interested to learn more about it, always willing to talk more in person. Just leave me a message. I need to get to my point though. The moment of prayer itself felt a bit strange at first. Even though I am pretty used to talking to Someone I can’t see or touch. After a few minutes I focused on the birds in the trees. Thoughts drifted from that uneasy feeling of getting too comfortable in life to the warm sunshine on my left arm. Then I realized that there hadn’t been an announcement on a Saturday morning yoga class, back to the quiet whispers of voices around me. Then there was just the inner voice rising up telling me to just be still. To listen to the birds. To look at them and realize that they don’t worry about tomorrow. “I take care of them. Just as I take care of you. Be still.”
I went home. Brought a multigrain bread and made myself a cup of coffee. I grabbed my phone and saw a text from my dad. Sent at exactly the same moment as when we sat down for prayer together. Exactly the moment, give or take a minute, when I felt God telling me to just be still. The text only had a picture and a cute grammar mistake. (Dutch isn’t the easiest language when it comes to pronouns and all.) A picture of my vine. I got that one about 6 years ago I think. A gift from my pastor at the time. There’s a little wooden sign next to it that I painted reminding me of John 15. I am pretty sure I have quoted that chapter in my writings before. Again won’t go into that whole chapter, if you want to know more, find me. The chapter reminds you that Jesus is the vine and His Father is the vine dresser. Just like my dad was yesterday as he texted me a picture clearly taken from high upon a ladder. It ends with a promise. A promise that exactly reiterated the thought that stuck with me earlier about being still:
You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting.
– John 15:16, Amplified Bible
Seeking direction and be grateful
So as much as this whole vine thing doesn’t give me any answers. It doesn’t give me a direction. Maybe it just tells me that I am okay in the place where I am. That it’s enough to grow, purposefully planted. Accepting that the cutting of the branches here and there is just a part of life. The growth doesn’t always go in a straight path. To be grateful for the sun and the rain. To pick up a pencil and draw. To become still and to trust that something is growing. That these tiny grapes from my own vine hold a promise. A promise of bearing fruit. Regardless of me having a clue about where I should be planted. That it’s a enough to be planted exactly where I am for now. Pretty sure it won’t be the end destination anyways.
I am going to end with a ‘thank you’, because I am grateful. Grateful to the ones that used to read my blog and told me what they like about it. They are the ones that got me to share vulnerably again. Even though I thought I was done with that. Grateful to the new ones that read this thing till the end, the ones that didn’t even know me when I did the 365 days blog or the ones that couldn’t be bothered to read it back then. Either way, it’s nice to meet you here. Fine, I’m ending my Sunday with a glass of wine after all. I’ll see you around on the blog. Cause I’m all about the love and connection.
Gratitude opens our eyes
and shows us that the
lines we draw,
and the walls we build,
and the rules we make
about who’s in
and who’s out,
and who’s not,
aren’t as real as the love
and the connection
that exists between us.
– Source unknown