Every saint has got a past, but every sinner has a future. …Only you can free my soul. – SwitchFoot
Man, none of us are perfect, are we? We know this, but it is still so refreshing to be reminded that no one around you really has it together either. As I flew home from San Francisco and visiting my family the other night, I looked down on the city below, swirling in off and further below rain. The lights – there are many of them – shone brightly through the stormy night sky and made me smile. Even though we’ve all even through storms and will go through more, suffered trough dark nights, there is always a dawn, always light ready to shine.
This trip reminded me of the journey we are all on in life. And although it sounds cheesy, I was encouraged as I thought about the many different paths my family is on and the different lives we lead. The weekend started with the now-annual day after Thanksgiving kickball in Chrissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge. Many of our more local extended family gathered and seeing everyone brought to mind how different we all are.
There’s smiley JD and his girlfriend Jessica, their spunky daughter Zoe (with her soon to be baby sister!) having fun on the field; there’s Tim and his two kids and new-wife Tracie, who celebrated their 1 year anniversary over the weekend; there’s my aunt Bonnie and uncle Dean, in their 70’s and still very much the initiators of our family gatherings; and Becky and her handsome Spanish husband, Gerar, who are housing a friend from Spain – their kindness and generosity always shine through in our interactions. There’s my fun brother, Taylor, who brings life and laughter wherever he goes and all the families who aren’t related by blood who enter into our family and become grafted in.
You know what we all have in common? Difficult times and different paths taken. We have all experienced loss, struggles and pain but are still growing, changing, discovering the diverse paths that God has us on for our own reasons. We’re all in different places along the journey, but we’re all on it, and I love that dispute our own mistakes or twists and turns – our pasts – we all have a future (as SwitchFoot states in the opening quote).
Walking around all my favorite spots in the Bay Area made me think about my “old life.” So much has changed! But isn’t it neat, that despite the reality of not being in the same country and missing each other, we are all living our lives to the fullest where God has us? And that all our different paths are okay?
Some of my favorite haunts on this trip down included:
– A morning hike in the Marin Headlands with my mom before the rain fell.
– Frozen yogurt with my mom and dad (so good! And much cheaper than up north).
– Worshipping and fellow shipping in church with my dad, mom and brother – all of us together.
– Seeing (younger) friends from Dora Avenue who seem so grown up now and revisiting old times.
– Visiting my mom’s gym and meeting her business partner, Dana (so kind! I’m glad they’re aligned!).
– Lots of coffee and talking and thinking and living life together…
What a great trip. And although I missed the Thanksgiving meal itself, I am leaving thankful for the path God has me on, even though it doesn’t involve seeing family daily and California as my home-base. I am grateful for family – for forgiveness and extended grace and compassion, for support and care, for appreciating our differences and laughter together.
As we move into December, into the Advent season, I’m reminded of the grace I’ve received through Jesus Christ as his entry to earth as a child – a baby, who grew into a boy and a young man and an adult – who although fully God can connect with us in our suffering because he suffered too. I am grateful that He walked alongside 12 disciples in life and helped them along their journey, and now for the gift of the Holy Spirit who walks with us too and helps us in our weaknesses. This trip reminded me that we’re all on our own journeys and that it’s because of Christ that I have any movement in life, any success, any joy in my days. He has given me an amazing, imperfect, loving an supportive family – on both sides of the border – who are there to help me too.
We all have a past, no matter where we’re at in life right now, and we all have a future, despite where we’ve been. Let’s live it to the fullest and continue that season of gratitude and hope as we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth.
Live well & be well, friends,