So all rivers flow to the sea, right? Well, mine certainly did! And faster than I expected. This photo is of the waterfront at Plimmerton, near Wellington (New Zealand).
I guess I always technically knew that my time in Methven would come to a close. But when I suddenly was offered a job in Wellington I was surprised at all the emotion I felt. At first I thought it was sadness. Later on I realised it was intense gratitude welling up in me, a thankfulness for the help and healing of this period of time. There were definitely specific people and groups amongst that thankfulness – old and new friends, and even acquaintances who showed love, care and attention.
So here I am in Wellington. From a rural town of 1600 people to New Zealand’s capital city. For the first time in my life I am a real commuter – well, a commuter-in-training. I am still figuring out the etiquette of how to stand on the train if there are no seats left. And yesterday I had my first ‘walking peloton’ experience. I got caught up in a bunch of commuters striding down Customhouse Quay towards the train station. The dynamic of these determined people was hilarious. There was the pace-setting leader (the person who arrived at the stop/walk traffic lights first on each ‘section’; there was a good speed-improving slipstream happening, and the smooth transition of leaders pushing to the front and relieving the previous one was so seamless it would impress a Tour de France commentator! I couldn’t have walked faster or slower to the train than this peloton of rugged-up suit-wearing commuters. So my identity (in this sense) has again changed significantly as a result of a major geographic move.
What have I been learning recently? I guess one point would be that there are indeed seasons in life – as the book of Ecclesiastes describes (more eloquently than I do) – and every season has an appointed time frame and purpose. I remember when I was in my early 20s and had recently become a Christian believer, I thought that this elated space, this ‘mountain top’ would persist for years to come. I think that my relatively naive understanding was not unreasonable. To have a new and clear experience of standing in a high point of your life, surveying where you have come from and which peaks you might scale next – that is an inspiring place to be, and most of us would love to linger there as long as possible. Other seasons have involved loss, grief, great (and not-so-great) health, periods of spiritual dryness and also times where that river has sprung up like a well. And indeed, they have each held a unique purpose not just for me personally, but for impacting who I will be in the future, and the people who will surround me in those new seasons.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
I am learning that ‘yielding fruit’ is more enduring than feeling happy for a time, and that what keeps you going through seeming dry seasons (or wet seasons) is being deeply connected to that living Stream of Water.
Here’s to exploring heights and planting deep roots, that transcend geography and calendars!