distilling melancholy

Came back to Loja from Quito the day after New Year’s, strangely heavy with melancholy. Similar sensation to coming back to an empty house after touring South America with my sister – though there was no reason that should’ve been the case. Couldn’t quite figure it out, couldn’t quite get to the heart of it, even praying over it.

Then last night, an unexpected visit from a friend. We talked for a good two hours, and I did a lot of the talking – not the norm for me.

Speaking through it all really distilled things for me, stuff that has been crystallising in my mind and my heart the last month or so. Stuff about being a missionary – that goes way beyond my list of Seven things you should know about being a missionary (September 2012).

  1. I am no longer my own person. Sure, we were bought with a price and we belong to Christ – but it’s more than that. Things which I have a clear conscience before God about are no longer necessarily okay, I’m not the only one who answers for and bears the consequences of my actions – the mission does, too. And, well, in spite of several moments of outrage and frustration, I’ve learnt to submit to that. I am okay with it. My challenge here is the potential for hypocrisy to creep in here, when I have to uphold and defend opinions I don’t actually agree with.

  2. Despite (8), who I am as an individual is, to a large extent, what matters, is the testimony, is what I share with other people. I need to be normal and extraordinary at the same time – or rather, I need to be extraordinary but in a way that people can relate to and aspire to, simultaneously human and celestial (which is what we are, right?).

  3. Some would call all this a sign of maturity! Many of my friends are not kids, but I’m seeing more and more clearly the difference, in things they say, minor decisions they make. Amongst other lessons, I have learnt to: (a) be wrong – even when others might say I wasn’t in the wrong and have nothing to apologise for; (b) criticise lovingly, and not just constructively. In sum, a different brand of seeing beyond myself, and understanding the consequences for others as a result of my actions, great and small.

A couple of other things I’ve realised about myself – (1) I am full of desire to serve and change the world, but lack clear direction and vision, and I suspect this is one of the reasons I feel I can be so much more with a partner; (2) I am cool with not knowing what’s next, what the future will be, because I know God has the best lined up for me 🙂

I wrote the following song for my friend A. It was inspired by things that happened and that we talked through a week or two ago. Looking over the lyrics, I get this weird sense of de ja vu that the words work with last night’s conversation too, but with the roles reversed – my friend in my place, and me in A’s place …

Mano sobre corazón
La mía sobre el tuyo
El oído sobre el alma

La batería de tus dudas
La melodía de tus sueños
Me tienes perdida en tu ritmo

En tus manos entra el mundo entero
De tus manos se cae el cielo

No soy tu paz
Pero te acompaño en la tormenta
No soy tu paz
Lo hallarás sólo en él
De eso no se habla
Pero sí se canta

Mano sobre corazón
La tuya sobre el mío
Una vida entera en un instante

Recuerdos de todos los años
Fragmentos de lo que he vivido
Se concentran en un solitario soplo

En tus manos entra el mundo entero
De tus manos se cae el cielo

No soy tu paz
Pero te acompaño en la tormenta
No soy tu paz
Lo hallarás sólo en él
De eso no se habla
Pero sí se canta

Los golpes de la vida
Las espinas en el camino
Los nudos que te atan
La esperanza que guardas
En cada látigo
Te oí

Mano sobre corazón
La mía sobre el tuyo
Principio y fin de esta conversación

Any comments, thoughts? I'd love to hear from you :)

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