OK. It is time. Here is an update.
Since Who is Responsible?–a post where I shared inner struggles and my desire for God to show up, take responsibility and lead me through a treacherous no-man’s-land–much has changed.
(Quick aside: Who is Responsible?, to my delight and surprise, is highlighted on The High Calling’s, Articles about Faith webpage. THC is a fabulous network of Christian leaders and bloggers).
It began when a dear friend invited me to visit her while she was staying with her mother in England. My husband’s frequent flier miles came into view, my calendar was free–the trip was possible. I wasn’t sure, I kept it in prayer. Having recently gussied up my resume, I was starting to send it to possible employers–there was momentum in that direction. Going on vacation felt like a cop-out. The thought came, though, that if I went, maybe I could tack on a week at a remotely located Christian community in the United Kingdom, as a visitor. I brought my “find work vs visit-my-friend” dilemma to my counselor, where I mentioned, in passing, a pop in at the community. Surprisingly, she honed in on the community and we spent time discerning whether I should look for work or visit the community. Visiting the community was discerned, we both heard God leading me there.
So, I Googled the community, found their website and inquired about coming for a week, maybe two. Timing-wise what they had available didn’t work out with the time I would be visiting my friend. The discernment seemed like a complete bomb, like I’d stepped on a land mine. Once again, I figured, I’d heard God wrong. I’d surrendered responsibility for my life to Him and He was playing cat and mouse with me. I wondered if I’d always live like this…if psychic storm would be the new norm.
Rooting around on the community’s website, I found they took volunteers for weeks at a time. I swiftly filled out an application, forwarded them my resume and inquired if there were any last-minute openings. A day later, at the end of February, they responded. They had an opening and I needed to set things in motion quickly.
Suddenly I had tunnel vision–everything was about or geared toward getting to the community. The biggest hurdle was a UK work visa. The bureaucratic process was a time hog. Brits in New York City needed forms, applications, money, passport-sized photos, fingerprinting (which one fine bureaucrat moved me to the front of the line for, overriding my fiv- day- later fingerprinting appointment!), documents and…yes, and…my passport–my ticket out of the country. Mailing my passport felt like I was surrendering my freedom to British bureaucrats. It was unnerving. I hesitated. Standing at the shipping counter I wondered if I’d ever see my passport again. Time was short, I feared sending it would mean I’d miss visiting my friend while she was in Britain….
I overnighted it.
Day after day passed waiting to hear whether they’d grant me a visa. Day after day passed wondering when they’d grant me a visa. Day after day passed wondering why they hadn’t granted me a visa. I planned nothing, not even a flight. Again, I wondered what God was up to. Was this part of the cat and mouse game I felt He’d been playing with me? I wondered would I, in the end, completely miss hopping the pond (you know, the big one between North America and Europe)? Was all this just a carrot on a stick, leaving me nothing but exhausted and hungry, completely carrot-less, in the end?
Two weeks, bureaucratically speaking, is not long, I know. But when they note 2-5 days for processing, it is.
Word finally came. In an utterly ordinary email, the British Consulate announced that I’d been granted permission. My passport and visa arrived at my doorstep the very next day, St Patrick’s Day.
St Patrick’s Day is my personal holy day. Pat and I are buds, we go way back and very deep, and it ain’t because I visit the bar. (If you wanna know more, visit St Patrick’s Day.) I’m not sure how to interpret this “coincidence”, this timing. Hmmm…maybe a healing touch from God through St Patrick has something to do with it…the thought of that came just now…oh my, could it be…
My passport and visa arrived on Thursday. I flew out on Sunday (a week ago yesterday) as my friend flew back to the States, we passed each other somewhere over the Atlantic Monday morning. I’d missed her. It was awful. Yet, I couldn’t shake that somehow, it was okay. God was responsible, His timing was in this. I arrived at the community on Tuesday.
Yes, I am here and will be here through the end of May.
As I transition into community living (sorry, I’m not allowed to share the community’s name or revealing details in a blog posting) and walk the paths of this beautiful countryside, I have no idea why I’m here. All I know is that He is responsible for me and, so help me God, I’m gonna hold His hand and let Him lead me through this no-man’s-land.