I’ve moved a lot in life. In fact, we’ve relocated again during this COVID-19 era. It’s not the woodsy rural environment I prefer, but more urban with constant buzz and people present. First time in the real burbs, but there are viable reasons for making this transition and, honestly, I look at it as temporary anyway. I’ve lived in exceptional situations, sucky ones, and in-betweeners. As far as materialism, I know what it is to have little, a lot, or thrive in moderation. I’ve gained and I’ve lost, so I don’t get too attached when I regain. Life can present us with all kinds of living situations and circumstances—sometimes changing on a dime. Some we bring on ourselves by choices we make; other times it’s circumstances beyond our control. But we have the means within us to adapt to life’s seesaw.
Life on earth is transitory. And because we are spiritual beings destined for eternal life, heaven is our true home. So in a big-picture sense, if you ever feel like a stranger in a strange land, it’s because we all kind of are. Strangers passing through in what is a privilege to live a purpose-filled, lungs' air-filled life… wherever we are… by mindset. We can bloom wherever we’re planted. It’s not where we are, but how we are.
We can bloom from whatever situation we’re handed, too, even the self-inflicted ones. Because no matter where we move, or how things pan out, what we do, or who moves in or out of our lives, the one constant is that Yeshua, Jesus, loves us unconditionally, as we are, where we are, without terms or conditions. By the time you reach a certain age in a fallen world full of broken people, you’ll have experienced friends who wound you, partners who break you, situations that hurt you and you hurt back. We are flawed, but God takes it all and loves us, as us, anyway, just like that.
The other day, I listened to an artist I admire, Kendall Payne, in a shuffle mix. I was on the treadmill maintaining my half-century-old body; I was also musing over blooming and belonging when her track “Belonging” played. Gah, if my heart didn’t ache to hear it just then. The timing, the bittersweet message of the song, the relatability, made me realize again how profound faith is and the absolute love God has for us as he waits for us on the other side (home, at last) with arms open wide.
Remarkable is the work of Brazilian-born German author, Lya Luft. By grasping the concept of death, she bestows greater appreciation for life. In aging, she compels us to embrace every season of our span. At 40, 60, 80, she urges us to defy the pressures of society, which suggest that happiness, love, passion, joy, fulfillment belong only to the young.
The depth of perspective and wisdom is mindboggling in her Losses and Gains volume subtitled, “Reflections on a life.” Her novel, The Island of the
Dead, proves painfully introspective as does The Red House.
Inspiring are the author’s inflections to progress through life’s throes; allow not our psyches get swept this way or that, cracking, shifting, folding to the superficial forces in which we don’t wish to bow. It’s our perspective that counts (for me, with God’s help), the stabilizer of any event—tragic or blessed.
We cannot predict nor control life. Whether we like it or not it ever changes, circumstances alter. We age. Our days are filled with losses and gains. That’s a haunting yet reaching truth. That is the profound work of Lya Luft.