It’s a Paradoxical Kingdom

The day after I decide that I actually am LIVING in this beauty of a city as opposed to “staying” or “visiting” or “am stuck in” — I get an email telling me that my visa has been approved, and I book a flight for the UK and my husband to leave five days later.

 

My head is spinning, and my heart doesn’t know which direction to long for.  

This scenario brings to mind the idea of the lifestyle the Christian should have, according to Paul.  And Christ, come to think of it.

This whole balance of being “in” and not “of” this world – to work and live like we will be here forever, that all our actions will have consequences, and that we are not our own – but at the SAME time to also live as though our groom is coming for us the next day – or at any moment.

It’s a paradoxical way of life – something that absolutely delights my silly little mind, but kinda totally freaks out my heart!

I have been in Hong Kong since the 14th of December, and am leaving on the eve of the 8th, just short of being here for four months.

I will just say that I could not have keep the mindset of “just passing through” for that long and keep my soul in it’s happy state of growing.  I couldn’t just say “I’m on a break from life” for that long.  Life doesn’t actually take breaks.  It still happens.  Resting is PART of life. 

And I know there are seasons of rest that are needed, and that we can be blessed with – but I was not resting.  Know why?  Because half of my heart was in ENGLAND.  And that half of my heart was cold, and stressed, and having to work hard.  I couldn’t rest and relish in my easy breezy life while my man was away.  I couldn’t rest knowing that I didn’t know when I would see him again.  I couldn’t rest knowing that when I could finally see him – I would have to continue this “forced relaxation” as I wouldn’t be permitted to have a job or volunteer.

And I was tentative to join up with life here — how can I partake in a life I know to be transitory?  

Well I managed it – I don’t know if it was by God’s grace (I’m not exactly sure how that is defined and don’t want to just throw around words like that without being specific about their meaning) but I made friends through introductions.  And I LIKED these friends!

Suddenly I wasn’t just waiting, not belonging, and not partaking – I was partaking, and beginning to belong.  And I grew in that time.

I think I will still be finding out just “how” I grew… but I can tell – I am stronger, I am more me – and I get the strangest sense that I am, dare I say, cooler than I was a month ago.

I remember wondering if I would understand the gospel in a new and different, and I suspected in a more rich way after I fell deeply in love with a man.  And I have.

So most of the time when Paul or Jesus discusses the ideas of a second coming, they use the analogy of a marriage.  (actually maybe Paul doesn’t – I am not an actual scholar, please don’t cite anything I say without looking it up yourself!) The idea of a groom coming for his bride, after going ahead to prepare the way for her.

I am LITERALLY (yes, literally) about to experience this exact scenario.

I’ve never been naturally empathetic – I have to really think long and hard about those things which come to other people naturally – and I have to say, I am SO excited to get a chance to live this one out first hand.  I never found the analogy moving, or revelatory in any way, but I am “getting” it now.  I feel the tension.  I want so badly to be reunited with my husband (I happen to really like the guy) and I know that I will being going to another beautiful place, a place he has actually found and “prepared” for us to live in together.  But I also feel the tension of leaving this place I have just fallen in love with.  The people I was finding comfort and understanding with.  People I want to build great things with, to dream dreams bigger than all of us, and to make them happen.  

When I got the news, it was a shock.  I had not realized that I had flipped the switch from “visiting” and “this is not my home”, to “I live here” so thoroughly. 

I had accepted this way of life – this life of eternal waiting, of separation from the man I loved.

I had become comfortable with speaking, texting, watching, and listening to him instead of being WITH him.

And the idea of the immediacy of FIVE days was INTENSE.

And I had to laugh at myself – a good deal of my first reaction was – but I like it HERE!  My friends are HERE!  I have a great church and family, and so very many beautiful things, HERE!  And that is when it slapped me in the face – “This was always temporary.”

Of course!  I knew that! When had I forgotten?  

How quickly we settle into comfort.

I don’t know what the conclusion is to this particular blog – I know it is all over the place.

It’s probably a Part I of a two or three part bit.

I realized I lost my focus of a second and when reality hit, I was left dizzy.

It is hard to leave here – and I think that is a huge blessing.  I am learning to appreciate the blessing of having people to say goodbye to.  I have made friendships with people of all walks of life, and I am excited to see where it takes me next.  I pray I will see them all again.

But I am excited to see my groom, and to get really deep into the life God and my man have prepared for me in the UK, just waiting to watch and see what I will do with it!  

So, my heart is happy and sad, excited and reluctant – a container full of paradoxes which makes me feel balanced in the familiar way being in the Kingdom of God seems to imbalance you and keep you on your toes… reminding you that you are made for this world and the next, desiring that we take hold of these fleeting moments AND keep our eyes searching way ahead for the eternal.

Our feet firmly on the ground, and our heads in the clouds…

I don’t think I like that metaphor.  I’ll come up with something better later.

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