Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why can't I stand what I used to love?

New places, new foods, listening to people, watching them move about, seeing things from 35,000 feet.  I used to love to travel.

Last night, flying home from Delaware to Florida, I really hated it.

Granted, it was a 16 hour long day that should have only been about 3 hours, but still, something deep inside of me yearned to be home 5 minutes after we took off.  The relatively short two-hour flight seemed like eternity.

I thought about how flying across the globe for 15 hours or more, used to feel long, but definitely didn't feel like torture.

Why this change?  Why the frustration?  Why the opposite feelings?

Some of it is a result of physical pain.  As I sat in the airplane seat with two pillows I had purchased in the airport, because I had forgotten mine at home, and knew I wouldn't survive the flight without them...I still had severe pain in my lower back.  In spite of keeping my legs up against the window as I usually do to relieve pain, the pain just seemed to intensify.

Each minute felt like forever.

As we finally flew closer to the ground, I looked out at the window at the night lights of Orlando - watching them twinkle as they hid behind trees and them re-appeared.  (the picture is actually of New York city taken from space)

I thought of all the other cities I've flown over - the smog filled air of New Delhi, India; the lush hills of Bangladesh (before actually getting to the dusty capitol city of Dakha); the mountain peaks of Kathmandu, Nepal; the slums of Mumbai, the never-ending crowds of Nairobi, Kenya; and the list goes on.

Somehow, the joy of flying has been reduced to bare necessity for me.  But why?

I want to love to travel again.  I want to experience that anticipation of years and experiences past.

But, last night, I just wanted to get home.
More than anything, I wanted to not be on a plane, and not fly again for a long time. 

I don't know why God changes our desires, and moves us from place to place (whether physically on a plane, or emotionally in our passions).

I know he uses our gifts and talents to serve Him in different ways in different phases in our life.  I guess I just didn't realize that what was so alive in me at one time could now be so dead.

Perhaps it's not dead, but rather replaced?  God has been calling me to a new phase of life, a new role, a new season for a while now.  Perhaps He is slowly removing what was once my joy and even fulfillment, and exchanging it for His presence, His purpose.  Not that His presence and purpose weren't present before, but they have taken a new shape now.

I can miss the joy of traveling, but I don't need to mourn what was lost.  I can see God providentially preparing me for the present, and look forward with great anticipation at what He will bring in the future.

Lord, you know my heart.  You know my physical pain.  You go before me in all things.  Thank you for the passion and joy brought from experiences in the past. And thank you for the passion and joy that lift me even higher and closer to You, through experiences in the present and the future.  You know what is good and best for me.  And I trust you with my life.

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