It was a usual Saturday night, except that I spent two hours or so conversing with a friend in a place fit for the moment. We walked slowly, breathed in the air around us, and savored the thought that finally, we were finally catching up.
When two roads lead to one
After we had our first few bites of street food, the same comfort food we used to enjoy together in school, we started talking. The green grass our feet were on, the clear sky above our heads, the music, the laughter, the smell of food and the lights around us provided a perfect setting to our conversation. This time, it was not about school projects or weekend plans.
It was about the many things you encounter in your first year of teaching and one’s realizations about priorities, staying put, the value of building relationships, resting, protecting the inflow over the outflow, and many more (including density and how sound travels in matter).
We sounded like nobody else was around. People were probably confused hearing us.
But overall, that conversation gave evidence to life’s irony–two different individuals who happened to be facing different challenges can share similar, precious, life lessons.
She is a teacher loaded with paper work, celebrating victories, sometimes doubtful if she’s choosing the right path. While I am a freelancer, patiently waiting to have the opportunity to teach in a public school, with complaints about people and is often feeling tired.
We walk two different road, had unique stories and encountered different characters, but they all led us to a common realization: We cannot just quit.
There was no official contract binding us to this realization. We did not verbally agree to keep going whatever happens, but there is a silent resolve in our hearts that made us certain we’re not done yet. Why? Because God is not done yet.
No matter how many conflicts we face in life–at work, in our relationships, with our co-workers, at church, and within us, we can always find refuge.
Refuge does not always come in the form of a resignation letter or you shouting to the world, “I quit!”
Sometimes, it means you stay, listen, and keep going while you rest.
Rest from trying to do it all.
Rest from assuming that everybody depends on you.
Rest from having high expectations of yourself and others.
Rest from craving perfection.
Rest from trying too hard.
Stay on the boat
Perhaps the real culprit why we feel defeated by life’s smallest and greatest challenges is our human tendency to desire a burden-free journey.
We want our boats to sail under the perfect weather until we reach our destination.
But it does not work that way. Cloud formations change unpredictably, seasons shift, the sun disappears, and storms bring waves.
Because the difficult chapters we wish would just end are the times when rest becomes impossible, yet possible in Christ.
Instead of trying to jump out while the boat feels like sinking, we stay on the boat and watch what God is doing. We don’t jump off the boat in panic.
My friend and I finished our dinner just in time for us to move on to our next itinerary. We cleaned our picnic tables and walked slowly towards the big screen for a free movie night. Our stomach’s heavy, the night’s getting deeper, but we know we were not done yet.