It doesn’t feel like I’m running away. Usually running away is all about moving as far from the problems as possible, motivated by fear, anger, or bitterness. But right now I am content and excited. And though I am quite happy to take a break from life back home, I do miss my family, my friends, and my morbidly obese weiner dog. Still…I am unbelievably excited right now. I’m writing this as I fly over the Sahara after a brief romp around Holland and Belgium; it was a wonderfully refreshing time, seeing new things, meeting new people, and getting a blurry glimpse of what God is doing in Amsterdam, a beautiful/tragic city of paradox.
Moving around crowded streets, hopping on trains, dodging pedestrians on the back of a dutch bike and feeling terrible for the person doing all the pedaling – I love it. I feel so comfortable traveling. I’m experiencing a kind of confidence that is usually foreign to me. It’s nice. Aside from a brief encounter with a very aggressive lamp post that had wandered into the bike path, I enjoyed every minute of my time in Europe. (However, my terrible, misanthropic friends seemed to enjoy the lamp post debacle quite a bit, seeing as they were laughing too hard to cross the street and help me reassemble myself.)
This isn’t running away. But it is running; moving deeper into God’s will for my life, moving toward greater devotion to him. It reminds me a bit of the frenzied end of C.S. Lewis’ classic (and theologically questionable) The Last Battle where all the protagonists are sprinting faster and faster and faster, further up and further in. It kind of feels like that, minus the unicorns.
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the summer, but I’m trying to focus less and less on it, turning my attention to what God has placed before me. I’m looking forward to being in a context where most of my significant experiences have nothing to do with my sexuality. Amsterdam was certainly not much of a respite from difficult questions and feelings, as fun as it was.
You see, though I tried to fight it, I have to acknowledge that I succumbed to a bit of myopia these past few months, especially toward the end. My sexuality became increasingly definitive of my experiences, and by the final three weeks I could tell I was beginning to reduce myself to to the fact that I’m gay. More than that, I began to feel entitled to the attention of others – being a kind of social anomaly can do that to you. But I got so used to people listening to me that a twisted impatience started to warp me in subtle ways. I was less receptive to the immense wisdom of others far more worthy of being listened to. And God knows I need to be listening to that wisdom. Oh, the wiles of Satan.
God has convicted me of many other little things like that, things I hope to more effectively uproot, by the grace of God, from my heart in this new context. I hope it will be a time of refocusing on the glorious reality of the Gospel and striving to live a life that proclaims Christ’s work of love to all people. I’m also hoping to deal with my burgeoning obsession with Anderson Cooper, but Jesus might have to come back before I get anywhere with that one.
Goodness, I’m still over the Sahara. What a wondrous thing.