Sunday, May 25, 2008

Enjoying Where You Are at (on the Way to Where You are Going)

This is a collaborative post. Cue that song from the Wonder Years ("I get by with a little help from my friends... whoa oh oh oh"). Actually just one friend.

Turns out I get by with a lot of help from her. She gave me the title.

Which brings me to tonight's topic.

I live in the home of Randy and Terri, beloved friends who are now family to me and who see me as part of their family as well. I sleep on the most beautiful red couch I have ever seen. By a fireplace (which in truth doesn't do me much good during these summer months--most of you know that I find myself sweating in the most Arctic of conditions) that is most legit. In a house filled with warmth and love and laughter and joy and beauty and a Wii.

I have become a gypsy. A vagabond.

It's so weird. I never once thought that after college I would be gypsying my way through the summer before I became a full-time grad student. But here I am, at the Thompson family home, living in a town I said I would never live in (love makes you do some crazy things--and I'm talking about the love for God and His people--the benefits of living in the town extend much further than being close to Seth (definite bonus, though!). I am close to the people I fellowship with, which is why I love being here.)

So why am I paranoid about where I am headed?

in life.
in ministry.
in relationships.

The wise sage Dr. Seuss knew a few things about this place...

"You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads
at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting." excerpt from Oh! The Places You'll Go

My mom once told me as we chatted through the night that she felt she wished portions of her life away, waiting on the next thing to come along. For example, when she graduated high school, she couldn't wait to get married so life could "really" start, she said. Then when she was married, she looked forward to having kids so that she could have the American Dream--the picket fence family. Then when my brother was little and later when I was little, she couldn't wait for us to quit running around amok and get potty trained already. The list goes on and on. That is, until she built a viable relationship with Jesus and quit wishing her life away. So her advice to me as cancer ravaged her body and at times her mind, was to avoid wishing this precious gift, this life, this breath, away. We cried and prayed and found ourselves wishing for all the things she had wished away so we could keep enjoying each other's company.

Slowly, I am learning that difficult lesson. God has put me in a place in my life where going forward in some ways is what I would have considered failure to be before. Like not having my own place, for example.
But is it really failing...

  • to live in community with people you love because the realization that the blood of Jesus has the capacity to make you one That is more powerful than DNA and public opinion. Don't believe me? Check this out.
  • to stay up late with your BFFs and sleep in really late the next morning because you know this is the only time in your life you may have the opportunity without little fingers pulling your eyelids open*
  • to be able to serve others and surprise someone with finished dishes or folded laundry because you had no other pressing commitments
  • to read every book on your to-read list and never once feel guilty about it
  • to swing all afternoon if you darned-well please?
  • to sit at Starbucks all afternoon and spend time with the One who knows you best while listening to the same Coldplay song a million times
  • to be able to work three walks in one spring because nothing and no one can hold you back?
  • to take a trip that's a little unplanned and unstructured and totally irresponsible because there are things to do at home (but you know it will make you a better, happier person full of life and the joy of Christ)
  • to have time to cry and pray and seek the Lord with a brother or sister just because you can take time to really get it

If this is failure, I want an F on every report card life ever writes me.

I want to enjoy where I am at on the way to wherever the heck I am going.

*this has happened to me. Hannah was the culprit on that one. I know you are surprised...


Indy (a.k.a. IndiNana) said...

WOW! Good on you, Laur.

Christy said...

Couldn't have said it better! You are in an amazing place right where you are, cherish every moment of it!! Luv Ya!

Anna Osmon said...

Lauren I just love you. The way the Lord is working through you is just astonishing. :) Love you!

Terri said...

From experience, we know that we shall never pass this way let's enjoy it this time around!

Keep bloomin' wherever you are planted, Laur!

( :

Terri said...

From experience, we know that we will not pass this way again.

Keep bloomin' wherever you are planted, Laur! ( :

lena said...

oh, man.
you couldn't possibly know what these words did to my heart...
i love you so much.
thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

lena said...

p.s. the part about your mom and wishing your life away... it brought these words to my mind... He will wipe away your tears, and return your wasted years... this is our God.

Lauren said...

oh, so good Lena! That's my favorite part of that song!!

Thank you all for your kind words.