Here Is The World
Here is the world... Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.
- Frederick Buechner
- Frederick Buechner
When I was in the seventh grade, my parents decided to move from Colorado Springs to a new town so my dad could pursue an opportunity that ultimately didn't materialize.
We didn't know at the time how it would all turn out, but what was known was that we were leaving. I remember feeling knots in my stomach every day as I thought about having to live somewhere else.
I loved our house, and I loved the neighborhood where we lived, filled with kids my age, and plenty of places to ride bikes and explore. It was also just about half a mile from my best friend at the time.
During those last weeks, before we moved, I would often ride my bike to a church that was about a mile away. The church was on a hill, overlooking the city with an array of incredible vistas of mountains just beyond it.
I remember sitting there on the steps of the church in the quiet of the evening, watching the sky turn brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow as it set behind the mountains, and I felt lost, alone and afraid.
I'm not sure why I was drawn to that particular church, but I went there time and again before we moved. It was a refuge of sorts, a space where I felt connected to the world, even though the world seemed to be shifting under my feet.
I wish I could go and sit next to that younger version of myself.
I would say nothing to him at first because the reason he went there was to not have to speak. He went there to be still, and to hold on to the moment, and to pray silent prayers to a God he was starting to suspect wasn't really listening.
And then I would tell him that there would be hard days ahead, and long bouts of loneliness, hardships, and fear. But there would also be bright days, triumphs, and moments of courage.
I would tell him that the God he was praying to is bigger than he ever imagined and also impossible to understand in a comforting and amazing way.
I would tell him that he would make mistakes, and lose himself a time or two along the way, but there would be people who would remind him who he was when he needed it.
I would tell him that somehow, someday he would learn something very important about himself and the world. He would learn that there's so much beauty in it all---even the broken things---that it's overwhelming and breathtaking.
And then I would sit there with him on the sun-warmed steps of that simple church on the hill, and watch while the sun dipped behind the mountains at last.
And I would sit there longer still until he was ready to ride back home.
May you be comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that God is with you, always with you---no matter what happens to you, or around you. May you find courage and hope in this knowledge.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.