Is anyone else facing some serious changes? I’m right with you!
Therefore, this Sunday’s Gospel reading hit home hard for me.
And then, just to drive the point home, the Gospel reading for today (Monday) was the exact same story, just in Matthew instead of Luke.
OK, God. I get it. I’ll stop my grumbling.
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
While we’ve been aware of the possibility for most of this year, it got very official last month when my husband was offered a job in the US. As long as his visa gets approved (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be approved), we’ll be leaving Mexico.
Nowhere To Rest Our Heads
Now, despite this being a good move for us in a lot of ways (it’s a good career move for him, we’ll be within an easy drive of my family and life-long friends, etc), it’s still hard. I’ve spent most of my adult life in Mexico. My kids have never lived anywhere else. I’ve spent 10 1/2 years here in Saltillo, and that’s as long as I’ve lived anywhere (in one stint. It ties with my hometown).
As things are darkest before the dawn, this is probably the hardest part of the transition–saying goodbye to the community that I’ve built up around me over the last 10 years. Some friends are close and dear, others have fallen away, some are in my life for a season . . . but no matter how you spell it out, saying goodbye is hard.
This is exactly where the potential disciples of Jesus have a hard time, too. “Wait–let me bury my father!” “Wait–let me say goodbye to my family!” Yes, I’m in the thick of saying goodbye to dear friends who have become family over the last 10 years. But the decision has been made, and it’s time to move on.
That’s where this week’s Gospel message gives me some encouragement. In this little bit, Jesus is reminding us that we aren’t at home here, wherever we are. Heaven is our true home.
Then, in his next breath, he reminds us that wherever we are, we are called to live the Gospel. Or, as the evangelist put it, if we’re following Jesus, we’ll go wherever he goes.
So in one sense, he’s reminding us that we don’t really belong anywhere.
Then, he tells us that we belong . . . everywhere?
It’s just the kind of goofy paradox that Jesus excels at, isn’t it?
Dying to Ourselves
As Christians, we’re reminded over and over that we are new people. We’re called to be renewed. We continually make the choice to live for our own desires or to live for God. Every time we make the decision to squash our own egos and live as God would have us live, we’re choosing to die to ourselves and live for Christ.
As my friend Michelle, says, “more of you, less of me.”
Now, I’d hate for our move to sound more noble than it is. We’re moving for an excellent job opportunity. For my husband, it was a no-brainer. He said that if I really wanted to, I could stay here.
But that would just be silly.
Given my rather passive nature in this process, what kind of attitude will I be taking with me? Will I act like I’m forced along, against my will? Or will I look upon this as some kind of adventure? Will I continually be grumpy about leaving my people here, or will I take advantage of new opportunities when the present themselves?
That’s still true. Right now, I’m neck deep in the process of dying to my life here. At this point, it’s hard to see the possibilities that may be waiting on the other side.
But I trust they’re there.
I can’t see how this will play out. But God does.
I do know that the process will be made a lot better by my attitude. So I’ll do my best to make it a good one!
Practice for the Future
Maybe I’m taking this analogy a bit too far here, but I think there’s something to be said for this idea. However comfortable any of us may be wherever we are, this life isn’t going to last forever.
None of us are getting out of here alive.
I know, I’m writing to a mainly US-based audience, and in US culture we tend to live in denial of the reality of death. You know–like it isn’t going to happen to us.
I’ve got news for you–it will!
So, in a very small way, in dying to the life I’ve been building up for the last 10 years here in Mexico, I’m practicing for the larger letting go process of letting go of my life, whenever that may be.
Like anything, riding a bike, singing in public, adding numbers, shooting free-throws, all these things get easier the more we practice them. So, it stands to reason that the more we practice letting go, and dying to ourselves, the easier it will be when we REALLY have to do it.
That’s a process that’s even harder to see something good on the other side.
But I have faith that there is.
So for anyone out there facing serious setbacks, yes, grieve for what was lost. And then practice letting go.
Once we freely give, then we can freely receive.
And then we can be born anew.
Featured image by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash.
Pinned image by Connor Irwin on Unsplash.