I was asked on the flight over to Austria where I would go if I could go live anywhere- where does my heart long to be? I couldn’t answer that question at the time; I could live just about anywhere. However, as soon as we landed, I knew the answer- I felt the answer: Europe. I love it here. The way of life, the sights, the smells…
There is much I could write about and much I hope to in the near future. However, what I cannot seem to shake is a phrase used by a woman on staff here as we were beginning our orientation. She began explaining the way to interact with those from other cultures. She stated that, especially as a solo woman, it is important to allow the other person to initiate what kind of greeting is appropriate.
Later, as I chopped about 25 apples into bite-sized pieces, this rippled through my thoughts. Solo woman. To be given a solo in a performance is a big responsibility- to carry the moment in all it’s glory. It shows the level of skill possessed and faith entrusted. The beauty of a solo performance is unique, just as a duet or trio or any other combination of performers. They are all beautiful in their own respects and given purposes. To carry the burden of responsibility alone in the performance is much like my life- the beauty and burden is special to one.
Traveling and being here has brought out many struggles I thought have been conquered or at least were moving towards that direction. My weaknesses have been highlighted and put on display; I feel as though the well of grace I have come to trust has dried up. I am constantly finding myself at the end of my abilities. My work is not demanding, but working, leading and learning has been consuming my last energies. In the midst of becoming frustrated and wondering why I do not feel the grace I have become accustomed to, I was immediately faced with this question: why did I think this would be easy? Why did I think God would not allow me to be stretched by this experience?
Because I was under the (false) impression that my work was done by just getting everyone here in one piece. The rest was supposed to fall into place and take care of itself. I find myself becoming frustrated when directions are not followed, when expectations in the schedule change, when people want relationship and not just a task completed, when I am at a loss as to how to handle relationships or understand people’s behaviors, when I am constantly face-to-face with the very natures that I feel overwhelm me with no escape. I see myself turning to momentary relief instead of taking the time to seek the Lord and to see his peace in this place. I am seeing waves of reminders that the Lord is available; that I am able to let go of my desire to find comfort in the schedule or task; that he is able to take care of me if I pour myself into this place and into these people.
The thing about solos is that there is a community of others involved in the performance, a symphony of others all playing their parts. The soloist relies on these others in the performance. There is no place for a soloist to simply stop and it is not the job of the soloist to direct this symphony. It is the job of the soloist to know the part, perform it well, and perform it with the rest of symphony.