An Off Brand Life
By Heather Allen –
Can I tell you what I want from life? Do you have a minute to pull up a chair? I want a smallish house with beautiful plants surrounding it and a roof made of shakes. Smells wafting from the kitchen that welcome visitors and make them want to stay for the cookies in the oven; sounds of kids laughing, with me straining to hear all the ridiculously cute things they are saying. Permanence: same house, same garden, new friends are okay, same grocery store, same streets. But ah, it seems that it is not to be.
My heart feels a little tattered tonight, like a rag flappin’ out on the line.
At age 13 I told my mom I did not want an ordinary life. How I wish I could go back and muzzle that big-mouthed girl. There is enough adventure in books. Fictional characters do not lay awake at night worrying about their kids adjusting.
So here I am another house in another state, but thankfully a little closer to those I love best. Yet I feel my life is an itchy sweater with seams that keep twisting up my body. The tag at the neck is driving me to distraction: it’s fixating. I cannot breathe right, I do not feel right, but I just keep yanking at that tag. It is easier than learning to live with it, or around it.
If God put His hand on my head my whole body would probably still be squirming. There is only one conversation I am looking to have but He keeps bringing me back to where we started “Set your heart on pilgrimage”.
I do not like being a pilgrim, and it doesn’t strike me as a very family friendly lifestyle. My mind spins and forms an extensive list of questions, so I read the book of Job. He had questions about his life. It started well, but not even halfway through the first chapter he starts a downhill spiral. I am a bit dramatic, but I can relate to his confusion and his longing for some answers.
At the heart of my conflicted life lies a deep desire to see the extraordinary, even if it means traveling to the ends of the earth. So I will endeavor to set my heart on pilgrimage. Believing a God whose knowledge spans beginning to end, I will learn to trust. He left His home to save me; I can leave mine too.
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 (NIV)
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” Psalms 84:5 (NIV)