I’ve moved ten times since I ended my Mission Year five years ago. You would think that I would be a pro at it but no, every time I switch worlds it sends me reeling. The packing and goodbyes are always filled with tears and the unpacking and moving in with emptiness and a sense of not belonging. I moved from Camden, NJ to a liberal arts college in rural Pennsylvania, then back to Camden, then to a monastery in the Italian countryside, then back to Camden, then to my family’s farm in upstate New York.
As hard as the moving was I found God in each place.
This past year on the farm was an especially rich time. My family has been farming the same land for nearly 100 years. I learned a lot living and working there. I learned to love with patience as I live with my 84 year old grandmother.
I learned to enjoy hard work from the 14 Jamaican guys who have worked on the farm longer than I’ve been alive. I learned how to drive trucks, make apple cider and run farmers markets. I also learned to listen to the Holy Spirit as I walked in the cool of the day and watched the sunset over the mountains.
Then last week I left all of that to fulfill a dream I had had since Mission Year to live in a neighborhood in the city and teach art at a local school. Tomorrow I start at Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia and I am so grateful for this opportunity God has placed in my life. But my heart still grieves the loss of what I have left behind.
This morning as I walked thought my new neighborhood I longed for the beauty of the mountains, trees and fields of the farm. I ran into my roommate out for a run and she hollered, “It’s a beautiful walk” about the direction I was headed. In that moment I realized that in my longing for somewhere else I had failed to see the beauty of the new place I was in. And tears streaming down my face I prayed “Lord, show me the beauty of this place.” And I believe that in time He will.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it. What food is it for you to gain the whole world yet forfeit your soul? Luke 9:24-25
In transitions we often feel like we are losing our very lives. But Jesus promises that if we are losing things for His sake there will be new life. Following him is never easy and rarely comfortable but its always better. So here I go following him through the open door.
Hope Mead is a Camden, NJ 07-08 alum. She is currently living in Philadelphia and beginning her first year as an art teacher with Mastery Charter Schools.