It's the end of the semester, and it's getting incredibly busy for everyone. Now, I don't know where you're at, but I know I'm feeling kind of stressed. There are a lot of things going on, from events that I'm in charge of, to events that I have to attend, to assignments I must complete and tests that I have to study for. It's a lot. When people ask how I'm doing, I almost always use the word "busy."
Like just about everyone in college right now, I'm looking forward to the upcoming Christmas break. I've noticed that I do that...I look forward a lot--to a time when I won't be busy, or to when I'll get to do something fun or go somewhere, but all of the above really miss the point. I'm convinced that I will probably always be "busy," but in a good way, and not always an overwhelming sort.
While it is quite nice to take a break from a fast paced semester, I have lately found myself contemplating... how much longer will I get a break out of the year like "winter break"? I was watching a Jay Leno rerun where Leann Rimes said that after her last tour she took a 30 day break where she stayed at home: no planes, no interviews, no concerts,... just home. For those of you don't know about Ms. Rimes, she started her career in the entertainment industry at a very early age, always on the move, always working toward something. She said something very interesting to Jay, "You know, until that point, I had never been in one place for 30 days. It scared me, because... it was just so different, something I wasn't used to." I really began to think about this... the idea of really moving around so much that the constant most people have (a home) begins to kind of disappear.
In the book, Up in the Air, the character Ryan Bingham says, "To know me is to fly with me. I’m the aisle, you’re the window. Trapped. We start chatting, impersonally at first, our moderate politics, our sinking opinion on the American service industry. You recommend a hotel in Tulsa. I tip you off with a rib joint in Fort Worth. You tell me your best joke, I’ve heard it before, but I listen anyway. Nothing like turbulence to cement a bond... ...We exchange cards and slot them next to countless others. Fast friends aren’t my only friends, but my best friends. Sad? Not really. We’re a busy bunch, I’m in my element here. I suppose I’m sort of a mutation, a new species. I live between the margins of my itineraries."
Now, Up in the Air, both in the book and movie form is kind of a depressing story. Essentially it's about a man who travels for business (he fires people for a living), and slowly disconnects with the world. But while the details of the particular story don't really matter for my example, the message is essentially this: the only constant that Ryan Bingham truly has in his life is made up of essentially interacting with people he will never see again in his life: making connections only for the requirement, leaving it all behind for that next flight.
While you probably think I'm going to ramble about travel again, I'm not. What I'm going to talk about is constants, about connections. Especially for young adults making the transitions into their lives as adults, it's something that's very important. People by nature are going to go to where they feel comfortable, to where there is something familiar, and when nothing familiar is present, they grasp for anything at all that helps them feel that sense of stability. It's simply human nature.
Some people make new constants for themselves, doing as Ryan did and slowly disconnecting from their old life. Sometimes this can be a good thing, disconnecting from struggles and negative lifestyles; however, in others it can be a bad thing, selfishly pursuing goals while making relationships only because of the gain and not because of the value. And of course, there is everything in between. Ryan was so fascinated with flying and traveling because it was a whole new world full of new experiences... but is that not what many kids entering college find themselves in? A newfound outlook on life and all that truly is possible: good and bad. But in these worlds that can be quite a shock to some, what is the best remedy? Constants.
"Home is where the heart is." We've all heard it, and there is a lot of truth in such a statement, but if home is where the heart is, then where are you putting your heart? The safest place is of course in God's plans and promises for your life, because His will is absolutely perfect, and He is always good. That place could be a geographical location, perhaps where your family resides, perhaps in your childhood house or maybe even your home church. It could be in a relationship or even good friends. Those things are all great things to have, great blessing. -- Let me ask you this question though, what if one day, you learned of a terrible fire or other natural disaster that wiped those physical locations away? What if your family relocated? What if your church had to change or even close? By attaching your heart, or rather, where you find your identity, to something, some place, or even some one that isn't the ultimate Constant, there's a great possibility that when something does change one day, your foundation will be absolutely shaken.
Now, I'm not saying not to love people. I'm not saying that it's bad to love your home, absolutely not. I'm saying that in a life as crazy as our own, we never know what's coming, and ultimately, we need a strong foundation that needs to come before every other love.
"True love will love a person for who they are, no matter where they are. " I love this quote for so many reasons. First, it means that love doesn't have a physical location. It's great to spend time with people, and it's necessary to build and maintain relationships, but when the time comes where God's call moves that person away, we have to love that person, so much so that don't selfishly want them to stay, but instead see them fulfill their calling and their destiny. It's another one of those adjustments that has to be made, and it may be difficult. Ultimately, it's easier to build a new room in a house or a new house than a new foundation.
That's why God should be our foundation, our constant. We all need a home, and what it comes down to is that here on earth, some people are blessed with a supportive, incredible family, with a great "home base," if you will, while others come from broken and hurt families, where their "home base" may not be in as good of a condition. As always, there may be anything in between. Regardless, neither can even come close to the foundation of God and His love.
I love getting to spend time with my family and friends, and I love getting to do all I do in school and with the various endeavors I'm involved in. But when any aspect of it starts to become a burden, If I ever become uncomfortable with where I am, I know that I need to remember ultimately what my purpose is.
I really pray that during this holiday season, we would all take some time to reflect on where our hearts are, and when the time comes that our schedules do slow down, and then resume full speed again, that we remember that no matter where we are, no matter what endeavors we take on, that by choosing to put our hearts where there is a home that is constant, found only in God, we will always be home.
Happy Holidays everyone,