A couple weeks ago I wrapped up another journal. Finishing a journal is an instinctive punctuation at the end of a season of life and an exercise in introspection. As I filled up the remaining pages of my journal I flipped back and forth to previous entries remembering, in many cases, the exact places and situations in which I wrote.
Flipping through this season of my life are stories left untold by the stamps in my passport with travels to Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, Cambodia and Korea. The stories between the lines are my reflections on new cultures, new ways of life, the universality of God’s Kingdom, learning about my historical faith, making new friends, reunion with my family, rest and reflection.
Halfway through this chapter of my life I brought my six year academic career at Fuller Theological Seminary to a conclusion and for the first time in my professional ministry, my attention is undivided between school and ministry, but it wasn’t as easy of a transition as I had imagined. I looked back thankful for the foundation and studs that set my pastoral shape.
In the remaining pages of this journal, my attention turned to a changing dynamic in my family of Kate and Me to: Kate and Me +1 and all the speculation that comes in anticipation of our daughter in October.
As I brought the final pages of this chapter to conclusion, I looked to my bookshelf to realize that this particular journal will bookend the past decade of my life. I took a moment to “Instagram” this realization with semi-permanence. Each journal contains within them the unique challenges of growing up. I realized in this moment that perspective is a gift. As I quickly thought back through every challenge, I remembered how each segment of my life was marked with distinct trials and triumphs through the eyes of someone in different stages of life: 18-20, 20-23, and 23-28. It’s almost comical now to remember at each stop how every heart break, every disappointment, every struggle seemed so terminal, urgent, and never ending, only to discover that each one has come to pass.
Seeing life on the other side gives me a hope forged in the evidence of God’s faithfulness through each and every situation. Before I placed the final “period” marking the end of my last sentence I paused for a few moments to allow the full weight of this punctuation to settle in my soul before looking forward, with hopeful anticipation, to the next sentence and the beginning of the next decade of my life.