Strong was a tiny town and though I had big dreams, I doubted they’d go too far. When you begin life as a kid in the system, you tend to get labeled as a child with a troubled past who would probably grow up to be a troubled adult. I fought that, and I fought that hard.
And the older I got, the more I found I had to fight it. Then the days came. The days when growing up became grown up. And I watched souls who had been close to me give in to the temptations of letting everything go. Their faith. Their dreams. Themselves.
Then the day came when I reached the mark of grown up, though I didn’t feel grown up and most days still don’t. But age called the shots then and so it was my turn to leave the tiny town. And the day I left Strong was the scariest day of my life. Mostly because I hadn’t figured out what my dreams were and I wasn’t sure I wanted to fight.
But this traveler kept crashing into a Maker who promised to fight for me. And somehow in the midst of all the chaos, God continues to do what He promised a scared little girl He would do. I had big dreams yet doubted they’d go far. But God had bigger dreams and He makes them go farther.
I have missed the tiny town this week. I have missed its familiarity. Its mountains and trees. Its quirky way of speaking and even its toothpicks (if you know anything about Strong, Maine that will make sense). You see, I moved away from the East to travel again. I moved to a place where there are new people, new phrases, and new food. And though there has become much that is familiar, there is still so much that is not.
And the unfamiliar creeps in in those moments. You know, those moments when you say things that are completely normal where you come from, but then the confused look on the face across from you reminds you, you’re not from here. Moments when you make a food that is a typical meal where you come from, but then the perplexed look across the table reminds you, you’re not from here. Moments when people talk about a person’s entire family history, but then stop because they remember, you’re not from here. And even moments when Michiganders ask you for directions in their state but you kindly have to remind them you are Maniac and not from here.
There are so many you’re not from here moments as a traveler and that can often become daunting. Yet sometimes, it can be a gift of stirring. Because when you collide differences together something crazy happens. Heaven. I mean, think about. Out of all the places in the world, heaven has got to be the most diverse.
Maybe it’s because I’m the outsider here, but I think we should surround ourselves more often with people who are not from here. Because there are souls all across the globe who left a tiny town to travel. Some kept fighting, some met a Maker, and yet some let everything go. Their faith. Their dreams. Themselves.
As believers we are called to be the body of Christ. To be travelers in a world full of people who need to be reminded that they’re not from here. That need to be reminded there is a place for them. A place where you do not hear “you’re not from here”, but rather, “Welcome home.”
This is why I traveled. This is what I dreamed.
Let’s collide our differences and go and make disciples in Jesus name.
Live full. Love well. Laugh Much.