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Friday, January 17, 2014

A Rooted Pilgrim

Last weekend our pastor preached on Psalm 1, and the entire idea of meditating on Scripture.  So the main idea that has stood out for me in this chapter is rootedness.

Perhaps that is because the missionary life often feels so uprooted.  Right now I have a husband sitting in an airport in Qatar, a son in CT, a son in CO, my sister and mother in NC, my inlaws in CA and Norway.  Today I was on long and short phone calls with team in Uganda and boys there who were our neighbors, talking to my mom in the US, emailing with team in Burundi, and others formerly South Sudan now in limbo, and texting with team who moved from Bundibugyo to America.  While I was talking to Scott in the Doha airport, a text came in from our embassy here warning us that an IED had been exploded in the airport in Nairobi.  It sounded small, but not exactly encouraging a few hours before a loved one travels through.  My mom is preparing to have back surgery on Monday. My heart is diffused by the dispersion of those I care about and the threats they face without me, and that can lead to a sense of being disconnected from any particular place or time.

But Psalm one contrasts the people who are like chaff, blown away, with the ones who are like trees, planted and firm.

And the difference is in where a person seeks their wisdom, counsel, thoughts.  In the passing fads of our philosophies and fashion, or in the ever-flowing river of the Spirit?  It seems that it is possible to be a mobile tree, a rooted exile, a pilgrim with connections.  A centering occurs in meditating on the Word of God that gives roots strong enough to bear distant fruit.

So to start 2014, I am praying for that rootedness.  And I know it requires space, discipline, time, desire.  Which led to another epiphany this week.  I am a person who works until the job is done, not until time is up.  That is the nature of motherhood and medicine.  Task not time oriented.  No particular limits.  A baby has to be held, a meal has to be prepared, and patients have to be seen even if there are 30 instead of 15, or if they show up dying at the last minute.  But that seeps into all of life, so that if it is 10 or 11 pm and I still have a lot of administrative work to do, I plow on.  This year I would like to develop habits and limits and boundaries in the areas of life where they are possible.  Not necessarily in patient care, but definitely in computer time.  I've practiced this week turning off before the work is done.  Freeing, but unsettling too.  The requests for schedules or evaluations or plans pile up.

But to stay rooted requires day and night focus on the Word, and to do that requires ceasing from some other words.  Pray for discipline to make the space to meditate, and survive.


Al said...

I hear you so clearly Jennifer. I feel the spread and pray the same. Pilgrims we are. Our home is elsewhere.

We are praying for your mom.


Katie said...

I may have missed it, but is there an update on Gift?

Katie said...

Oops! Just saw the post!!! Thanks so much!

Larisochka said...

Love this Jennifer. And very glad you're embarking on some new borders and boundaries. I'm definitely in a season of major cut back. Roots in Jesus. Roots in Jesus. Love and miss you all.