Sunday, December 22, 2013

An Unexpected Journey

When I saw this movie for the first time at midnight opening night, my breath caught as I listened to this exchange between Gandalf and Bilbo. I had had a very similar fight with God about six weeks before the movie came out, and felt like I was watching the dialogue between me and my Maker. I was so comfortable in my life where I knew everything around me. I had Charles, my trusty C230, to take me wherever I wanted to go in the greater Portland area. I knew my turf, and I was comfortable with it. I had no desire to leave. 

Yet, I knew it was true that the world is not in my books or maps, and I wanted to learn and grow as a person rather than become stagnant. The only option was out and away from what I knew - my Shire-like Hillsboro, Oregon. What terrified me most was the thought of never coming back. Bilbo voices that, and Gandalf's reply is even more frightening. 

God made me no promise that I could come back after a year or even two. In fact, it seems he wants me in Germany indefinitely. He's building me a life here, and it's changing me, growing me. 

Yesterday I slept in late with the help of my rolladen - dark shutters that keep out the noon day sun so tired teachers can sleep past the sunrise. When I finally got up, I cleaned my room after a week of enjoying lazy days of my three week Christmas break (boarding school bonus). In the late afternoon, I made my way down the hill into town where I joined the stream of English speakers on their way to the theater to watch The Desolation of Smaug "in the original English." We packed out the theater in anticipation of a film on the big screen not dubbed in German. 

Nothing makes me miss my dad more than a good Tolkien film adaptation, but I kept my head above the homesickness and enjoyed every minute of the film. As soon as it ended, I followed the bells to the Lutheran church and entered at the final stroke of six for dress rehearsal for the local choir concert. Sitting in that church listening to Bach on the organ, I realized that my own unexpected journey has taken me so much farther than I could ever have dreamed. 

I am not the person I was when I left, and I still don't know if I'm ever moving back. What I do know is that my unexpected journey is the greatest adventure imaginable. I never imagined that I would ever sing in a local German choir and befriend a dozen women who could not speak my mother tongue. Even though I couldn't understand the majority of the songs in the concert, I loved being a part of a Christmas concert that celebrated the birth of Jesus.

I look forward to continuing to celebrate my Savior's birth this week, and I hope you'll do the same. Frohe Weihnachten!

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