Life threw me a curveball. I wasn’t expecting it and I wasn’t aware that I even needed it.
Since moving to Phoenix, I had been so focused that I barely lifted my head or noticed anything beyond my present circumstance. My days consisted of reading, working, eating, exercising, reading, writing papers, and sleeping. Every so often, I tried to reach out and make community or volunteer somewhere so I could make some contribution. But it never lasted. So here I was…new to a huge city, consumed with work and school, no community, and no life.
I had been planning a trip back to Georgia in June since before I even left. My friend was getting married and my squad would be there for a conference at my old stomping ground. I had no idea what that week would have in store for me and how desperately I needed it.
I woke up Friday morning to a phone call that I would wish upon no one. My family suffered the tragic and untimely loss of one of my cousins. I was supposed to be getting on a plane to fly across the country and I could barely get off my bed. My sister and I cried and prayed and then we had to keep going. How do you keep going after news like that? One of my best friends gave me the best advice – wear sunglasses. The tears didn’t stop as I sat in a public airport terminal but I could cover my eyes and get lost in the crowd. With my family in such pain, it didn’t feel right leaving. Arizona needed me more than Georgia and yet, I was about to fly away.
As I was thrust back into my old life, with my closest friends and familiar places, I soon realized that I needed Georgia. I had forgotten so much in the last six months and this week served as a sweet reminder.
I remembered who I am and whose blood flows through my veins. I remembered what it feels like to worship with complete abandonment and to risk trusting an unseen God. I remembered the call and the privilege to live as a child of God and bring his kingdom to all nations, including my own. I remembered what matters in eternity. I remembered that these crazy people in Gainesville, Georgia are my family and my tribe. I may be living in a different city, but my heart and my spirit are deeply connected to them.
Something in me came back to life. Something I didn’t even know was dormant, needing the breath of community and life. It was the sweetest gift and the night before I was to leave Georgia and come back to Arizona, my heart was heavy with sadness. It will be another six months before I get to see my best friends again (at least I hope!), and now community and worship like I experienced last week will only come as I cultivate it.
This last week was out of my ordinary life in Phoenix, but I want to make it ordinary. Some days I feel up to the challenge, other days I’m discouraged. But I come back to Arizona with purpose and intention to live with kingdom perspective, to bare my soul authentically, and to cultivate worship in community.
God willing and God help me!