Chuckling, I thanked my husband for pouring the water into the French Press, after I had accomplished all the other steps leading up to it. Making coffee in a French Press happens in stages. I told him if I was ever a widow, I’d be so grieved to have to make coffee entirely by myself. We bantered back and forth a little, but while I was pouring coffee from Press to cup, he made a sincere comment about how grateful he was that we actually ponder what it would be like to be widowed, because it helps us to appreciate these present moments even more. He is right. Pondering death has brought depth to each moment of this momentary life.
I hiked back up the stairs, to my rocking chair, to the Book that beckons my soul. I wanted to read Hebrews 11. It’s been on my mind for days, weeks, months, maybe this whole year. I refer to it often, but it’s been awhile since I laid eyes on the ink. I pulled the Bible onto my lap, flipping pages, and started at the beginning of the chapter. Around verse 8, the author begins to summarize Abraham’s life. “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise.”
My mind began to wander towards my own life. I’ve lived rather alternatively, in my lifetime. A few years back, our family of five was crowded into a stationary school bus. We lived without running water, electricity, or really much space, for over three years. I’ve lived in various tents, a motorhome, a VW bus or two, and simply hitch-hiking the country. To be plain, I’ve been a nomad for a good chunk of my life. Really about a third of my grown-up years.
As I reflect on my life, I realize how very purposeful it has been. But my mind also wandered forward. This year, this pandemic of a year, has really made me ponder my freedom and how tight-fistedly I carry it. It’s made me pry my palm into an open position before the Lord, knowing that, at any given moment, all the comforts of this world might be stripped. It’s made me ponder the death of my freedom, just like I ponder what it would be like to lose my husband.
These musings have helped to detach me from the things, comforts, pleasures, and blessings of this world, and attach my heart to the next. I, like Abraham, “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” (vs. 16). But they have also made my heart voluminous with gratitude for this moment. I’m so thankful for the freedoms I know have, and the husband I now enjoy. I’m so thankful to get to co-make coffee in the mornings, and enjoy the friendship of the one I live with. I’m so thankful to be able to walk into a grocery store and buy what’s needed. I’m so thankful no one has stripped me of my home and sent me clamoring into the woods for refuge, though that might happen in the future.
But even if I was “wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground” (vs. 38), there would be a heavenly purpose in this. My heart being set on pilgrimage to Zion (Ps. 84:5) makes it so that even if I live as an exile on earth, I realize that I am only here for a short while anyways, and that what matters most to me is that the name of Christ is exalted, and that my love for Him is contagious. The rest is all superficial stuff. If I can see the face of Jesus, and bring others with me along the way, so that they also get to see His face, then any and all suffering down here will be more than worth it.
For now, I will enjoy making coffee with Smiles, and living under a roof while the snow falls, and being able to buy what I need at the store. But even if that is someday stripped, I rejoice that God has been in the process of teaching me to pry my fingers off of this life, and look forward to the next!