Monday, October 26, 2009
On Sunday evenings, my sister stays with Collin so that Kyle and I can go to church. We sit in the very back to avoid germs and leave during communion for the same reason and to get home for Collin's lengthy bedtime routine, but it's good for us to go. Yesterday, we studied Jeremiah 29 - a letter from a prophet to the people of God after they had been defeated in battle and taken from their homes to live in enemy territory. The message was about how God told them how to live their lives while they were in exile: settle down, build a life, make a difference with the little things. The speaker applied this to our presence as a church in our city, but I found myself thinking about how it is also appropriate in a more figurative sense to parents like me and Kyle. We're in exile - somewhere we do not want to be and feel like we don't belong. We long for the 'home' that we had before our lives turned upside down and it's tempting to put life on hold and get used to living in survival mode. But a major way God redeems our situation is through the same means he did for the Israelites - we settle down here in this 'land' of confusion and struggle and weariness and start to build a new life. We use the beauty and power of the 'little' graces of everyday life to make a difference in our own family and, consequently, in those who surround us. So, we find the things we can do in our situation and we claim them and enjoy them - we take fall walks in the park and watch Halloween cartoons at home and grab moments to read and crochet and cook and write to friends. And what happens is that, while we're clinging to God's promises to make everything right one day and lead us home, we take his advice and start putting down little roots and the unthinkable happens: we find joy and healing in the very place that threw it all into question. Now that's redemption.