“I wish tonight would last forever and it would never end
We were introduced as strangers, now we’re leaving here as friends
Every word that you speak is a melody as we’re writing the songs of our lives
Everyone knows we don’t want to go home but we can’t stay here tonight.
Come on up to our house, let us make you feel at home
Come on up to our house, I will leave the porch light on
All are welcome at our table, you can never stay too long
Come on up to our house, I will leave the porch light on.”
~ “Come On Up To Our House” | Bon Jovi
“Sometimes the greatest Adventure is simply a conversation.” ~ Amadeus Wolfe
Weary, yet pursuing. That was the theme of January 2020 for me, especially heightened by January 17th to January 19th. I had been listening to a sermon series entitled “Waiting on God” and the pastor mentioned how Christians are often weary, yet pursuing. The note struck a chord deep within me since that’s how I felt for much of the end of 2019 and the early beginning of 2020. Weary, yet pursuing. Perhaps some of you can relate: there’s just something about a year ending that makes you weary, weary in your bones. You’re thinking of all the things you didn’t accomplish that year, all the unfulfilled longings, all the unwise decisions, all the changing relationships, all the things you wish you could go back and undo but you can’t, all the fighting and the warring and battling only to have things stay the same, for every one step forward you’re taking one-and-a-half steps backward. And you’re just weary of it all.
As usual, because the Most High knows us better than we know ourselves, there’s a verse in Scripture for that 🙂
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” | Galatians 5:9 |
Why did Paul, through the Holy Spirit, have to write those words? Because we (im)mortals grow weary, and most especially while doing good. Often our efforts for the Kingdom—witnessing to others of Christ, mortifying our own remaining sin, using our talents to glorify Him where He has placed us, seeking to grow in our knowledge of Him etc—appear unfruitful in this life. Our loved ones are still unsaved. Our remaining sin seems alive and well. We’re woefully lacking in our spiritual knowledge. We complain about our circumstances instead of seeing the good in them. The rat-race of life appears to offer few encouragements and it’s like our car is stalled and the tires are spinning in the mud. We just want it all to end and Heaven to begin.
But we are immortal until our work is done so here in the Shadowlands we must stay until our King calls us Home. And He has promised a heaping reward if we do not lose heart. In due season. Ah yes, due season. We can’t wait that long. We want our reward now and we have a curiously hard time trusting that Adonai means what He says; that our Inheritance is fixed and sure. ‘Cause we can’t see it in the here and now and so we conclude it doesn’t exist. And even if it does, we’ll surely never taste it ’cause our efforts leave much to be desired.
All praise to the High King that the reward doesn’t rest on our rubbish efforts! The reward was purchased when Adonai died and rose again. If He’s saved you, your heritage isn’t going anywhere. We’re all going to die thinking we could have done more but we place burdens on ourselves the Most High never meant us for carry. Faithful obedience is what He requires; not our self-imposed standards, which are rather pharisaical of us when one stops to think about it. In Him, we have all-sufficiency for all things, even to continue on doing good when we feel most like giving up.
So, weary, yet pursing.
I was wavering between apathy and frustration in the months before and the days after Erulisse’s wedding, heightened by a few other external circumstances (see The Saga of Hope Part I for more info). And then, nearly eleven days after the wedding, my favourite part of year rolled around and it did not disappoint.
I’ve been attending DVYR for seven years now and each year is better than the one before. I’ve technically aged out of this glorious retreat but, as Boromir once said, I care not 😛 Three days of fellowship, conversation, laughter, shenanigans, sermons, food, it’s like one giant hygge-fest without the calm quiet haha But it’s grand and I’m incredibly blessed to be a part of it each year.
My dear friend Moira often says that DVYR rolls round right when we need it and she couldn’t be more right. By early January, the world has begun to feel stale and tiresome, like it’s all been done before and done poorly at that. We’re world-weary, running on fumes, and ready for our Fire to be rekindled. And then the Most High sends us an oasis in the desert, a few days of seclusion in PA to forget about the things which need to be forgotten and to remember the things which ought to be remembered. To live fully planted in the present moment, with all its chaotic Joy. To be reminded that there is Hope in the Darkness, that Night will always end and Morning will always dawn and the time in between is all part of the the King’s sovereign plan.
There’s loads I could say about DVYR but I want this post to be edifying and not rambly so I’ll focus the last bit of it on conversation.
DVYR 2020 re-branded into my brain the importance of conversation. By Sunday night, I was beginning to lose my voice from all the laughter and conversation. It dawned on me that I had spoken to so many people and been given so much food for thought. The first night, several friends and I stayed up until about 1 am after a Wal-Mart run for make-up. We ate brownies and crumb cake and all the snacks and chatted our little hearts out as we encouraged and challenged one another and caught up on each other’s lives. A friend and I stayed up chatting about Life until 3:30 am the second night. Saturday afternoon, a friend became a Kindred Spirit as we sat in the pews and spilled our souls about perception, humanity, facades, belonging, restless souls, the Kingdom of Heaven and so much more. Sunday afternoon, I talked to a girl only several years younger than myself and nearly cried as she told me all about her passions and confusions and hidden talents and as she asked me for writing advice (which humbled me to the lowest of lows) and listened intently to what I had to say (which I’m sure was rambly and a bit incoherent haha). I talked to those significantly older than me and heard their stories of a by-gone era, of their own mistakes and shortcomings, of their triumphs and joys and blessings. I reconnected with lovely humans I hadn’t seen in quite some time and felt the thrill that comes from living moments to the fullest right while you’re in the thick of it. I watched and smiled as groups of us clustered around tables and in pews and sat on bleachers and stood in foyers and just talked.
Conversation’s a lost art, lovely humans. We’ve traded it for shallow small-talk and gossip. Some of us are afraid of being vulnerable. Others like the facade we’ve created for ourselves on social media so much that we’ve taken on a persona that’s not even ours. So we don’t know where to begin in a real conversation. But conversation’s nothing to be frightened of. Where we thought to meet with judgment and foes, we often meet with understanding and friends.
Oh I could go on and on and on but I’ll spare your eyeballs haha I’ll simply end with this: that Bon Jovi song I put at the top of the post captures the spirit of DVYR. There’s always a place at the table for one more and when the weekend’s over, few of us want to return home. Many of us only see each other once a year in January because of state-lines and distance so leaving is especially hard and no one wants to let go.
\\ I looked into the face of the future that weekend and saw Hope and Joy; Joy beyond the walls of this world and Hope so strong it made my soul ache. We chased Adventure, laughed the laughter of the Children of the King, and discovered, yet again, that life with Christ is the best life there is. I carry so much fierce love in my heart for all of these DVYR Legends and may we one day meet again under the stars, far sooner than we ever imagined ❤ \\
| “Community, you see, doesn’t really exist online. It wants to happen in person, over a meal, during a conversation, where two or more are gathered in God’s name.”
~ Andrew Peterson from Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making |
| We’re in a War, my friends, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines ❤ |