it is september now and back home people are celebrating the return of spring. days are getting longer, nights are getting warmer and all around nature is getting ready to burst with joy. it is a time of renewal, hope and celebration. it is a time to celebrate life - and to fall in love.
i am lucky. for although i'm oceans away from home - i am with the one i love.
in Taiwan it is ghost month: a time when the gates of the underworld are believed to open and the dead are allowed to roam the land of the living. spirits without descendants to care for them are prayed to during this time, so that they may also enjoy the warmth of life among the living. those lucky enough to have descendants get to feast on tables laden with food and drink that are offered to them. for others, this is a month of remembering the departed and cherishing those who are still around.
again, i am lucky. for in remembering my departed friends and family - i am reminded to love fully without restraint. i am reminded that life is unpredictable and short - and that love should be cherished and enjoyed openly and fearlessly.
fearlessly... that is my achilles' heel. my terrible burden. for you see - i am still plagued by fear... the fear of my inadequacy.
this might be a revelation to some, for many believe me to be fearless. in fact, i often make a point of facing my fears head on, to overcome them and to help others do the same. i have often said that this does not make me immune to fear - but that i'm fighting a winning battle. and for the most of it - i am.
for the most of part.
tonight, while standing in the rain waiting for the garbage truck, i felt very much like a spirit with no descendants. the switch from the fullness of SA life (with my friends and family) to the total isolation of city life in Taiwan (Peter works - i'm still looking for a job), was suddenly too much for me.
i'm not going to go into the negative flip-flops my mind was doing - suffice to say i was feeling pretty forlorn...
then the garbage truck arrived - and a complete stranger huddled me under his umbrella. he walked with me from the garbage truck to the recycling truck and back to our building - even though he only had a small bag to deposit at the first truck. i thanked him profusely as he smiled and disappeared into the crowd.
the rain eased up and i decided to go for my walk around the museum's park again. a cool breeze was blowing and i was beginning to feel a lot better. before long, i realized that i was praying as i walked - and for about half in hour i had an intimate discussion with my Lord, who was walking right next to me! i was in Jesus's company and it felt completely natural, safe and friendly. it was a miracle, just like the stranger with his umbrella. i've often felt close to Christ - but tonight was the first time i literally felt him walking right next to me! walking next to me, telling me not to be afraid. telling me that, even though i might not believe it, i truly am a perfect creation and more than adequate for the journey i'm taking. telling me to believe in Love and reminding me that i am never alone.
none of us are ever alone.
what started as a dark night of the soul - turned into the promise of a new dawn.
spring is coming - even here, on the brink of fall.
wherever you are tonight, and whatever you are going through - may you also experience the promise of a new dawn.
wether you believe as i do or not - this spring is eternal (and Love believes in you).
now go hug someone.