Faith & Encouragement | Thoughts | Travel

The Truth About Transformation No One Says Out Loud

November 24, 2014

coffeeThere’s something people don’t like to admit to you, listening as you share the passion of your dreams in breathless phrases and excited gestures, nearly spilling your black, a little Stevia, Starbucks coffee in the white cup, green goddess smiling on the side.

When they gather at your going away party or crowd on your doorstep, no one says it.

It’s the thing they say to each other when you are gone, when their lives have gone on, rhythm unbroken, to the tune of movies and church services, jobs and parties.

While they ebb and flow with the sameness and solidarity of today and tomorrow taking them somewhere you can’t go, this little truth becomes more and more stark.

We feel it too, the ones who left.  It’s on the walls, peeking over. It lurks on our fringes and we don’t like to look too closely.

Those who go and who live on the edges where we don’t have house keys anymore and a wallet is just an empty leather weight in the bottom of a purse that now holds passports and chapstick, an extra hat, a bottle of water, and a little purse of foreign currency wedgedbetween the phrase book, the bible.

Most often, glimpses are touched and felt in the leather journal where the lined and unlined pages are drenched in hope, praise, and tears.

la streets

Photo credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com

plane window

What is it we feel?

 Different.

dillon nowPhoto credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com

What is the secret no one tells us?

 We all change. But no one changes at the same rate.   Life at home is slower, catharsis happens in small doses.

Here, on this raggedy precipice of sink or swim, we are changed in moments of intense desperation, dangerous prayer, wild faith.

We are all changed.

Because if we stay the same?

We die.

Our hearts wither to nothing. Shells of what might have been reduced moving awkwardly through the steps of “doing God’s will” but having nothing to give to the flesh and blood people in front of us.

shekelPhoto credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com

If we live backwards? Always looking behind?

We become nothing but pillars of salt covered in the quiet tears of longing and grief for missed moments we can never regain.

 

The turkey made by Mom. The flight to Uganda we might have been on.

The gentle hands of a little one you didn’t get to meet before she was born and may never meet.

The dusty roads of a third world country choked with the most beautiful people you never imagined.

The loss of a parent. The fading of another friendship.

The wedding of those two and the anniversary of the others.

 

Those of us living here are changed suddenly by dust and trash in dirty streets, by explosions and risk.   Long flights and empty airports.   In a moment our normal is transformed by foreign languages and inexplicable signs.

The leathery faced little old ladies yelling in Arabic at the orthodox man playing on the street masterfully hold a moment of tension before they both dissolve in some sort of camaraderie. And all of us breathe a sigh of relief. No violence today. The sun is shining. The bus goes by, the lights flash green, and people pass on the street.

It’s just normal today. No need for the news. Or the man in black with his barely concealed Desert Eagle.

foreign roadsPhoto credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com

Thousands of miles away you are still not sure if you can support the mission of your current church. Standing solitary beside the tall potted plant fighting the feeling of being abandoned and alone in the foyer while those in Ministry brush by, busy with a mountainous stack of to do and vision.

You too call on God. But your bravery lies in risking community. Are you daring to make a bold move that could cost you a job, the respect of others, or your very home?

As the night falls, I am holding hands with a short man from China who weeps as he intercedes for you.

In America.

Back home.

When he sobs, praying in broken English so we can agree, I am overwhelmed.

I don’t deserve this kindness.   I don’t deserve this intensity focused on me.

My Western heart is humbled by the soft-spoken man from Shanghai, David.

East interceding for West, while our governments posture and argue and radio talk show hosts vilify Red China, I held their hands and we danced before the Lord.

Together.

Dark hair falls over his forehead as he bows over my hand, then enfolds my husband, a full 8″ taller,  in a long, intense bear hug of brotherhood.

With the tears fresh on my cheeks, I remember you too and I pray for your personal revolution.

Your chrysalis of faith.

Your crucible of pain.

But what no one says before you go is this: 

open doorsPhoto credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com

The truth about transformation?

You aren’t sure you will recognize us when we get back and we are afraid we won’t recognize you either.

Leaning on Him,

Heidi Stone

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  • And I don’t want to turn and be a pillar of salt, longing for the familiar, even if horrible. Familiar was know. We had learned to navigate it. This afternoon? Tomorrow? I have no idea what change will come. In him? In Me? But I’m ready.