Tonight I write to you hearing the rain fall on the tin roofed building I am in. My time in the Sudan is coming rapidly to a close. There are things ahead that signal that the inevitable is impending. The last class to teach. A special dinner together. Visiting to do. Packing looms on the sidelines as the candle burns at both ends to try and buy time. Here. Now.
I am here now. That is the thought that penetrates all of the leaving. Here and thankful. Glad for this season. Doing my best to live fully in the midst of it. Not wanting to miss a thing of the goodness in this place; the students in the class; the people in the village; the friends on the base. Soon I will fast from all of these things, and so now I am feasting.
The only problem is that I’m not sure how it is possible to live fully in the present without somehow stealing anticipation from the future.
My sister is the greatest anticipator of the future that I have ever met. She is constantly looking ahead, delighting in what is going to unfold. Several times a year, life is like Christmas morning for her as she loses sleep going over and over in her mind the impending wonderful.
Me? I can't remember the last time I lost sleep from wonder. And objectively, looking both back on my life and ahead to what waits, there are a lot of reasons. The Bible also discusses these things with some clarity. Live fully in the present (Psalm 118:24). Anticipate heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5). What God has planned for my future is good (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28). I am not saying that an emotion of giddiness must accompany thoughts about the future. But I am asking you to consider - when you think about the future, do you let yourself anticipate what God is working out in your life? Do you have a hope for the future that you let yourself feel?
Time has passed and now I am finishing this post in Nairobi. Thankful for the days in Doroji that, by grace, were mostly well lived and well loved. In the last days of my time there, in the whirlwind of goodbyes and moving on, lack of sleep and a floods of both numbness and emotion, something happened. From no understanding of my own, leaving the land of my heart for a calculated choice of will, I felt it: a flicker of excitement for what lies ahead, whatever it is. Surprisingly this butterfly of anticipation did not rob from the present. It was enveloped in the peace of God assuring me that I was exactly where I need to be. Right here. Right now.