Looking at this tree in a friend’s garden a few chilly mornings ago, I thought how impossible it would be to envisage Spring — unless one had experienced it before.
I am returning – very briefly – this week to Los Angeles. Having landed here in England in this brand new chapter of my life unexpectedly last July, it is now time to tie up all the loose ends I did not know would be loose when I left, and close up my previous chapter over there.
In truth, I had been dreading going back to LA to sort out all my stuff in storage. I felt it would just be an agony of seeing all the friends I can no longer live near, to give away all the things I cannot afford to ship, and see all the places I am no longer able to go. I was thinking about it entirely in terms of loss and grief.
However this week, as I booked my ticket, I had a change of heart. Since God’s purposes for me are GOOD, I am not simply living into what is not or into what is no longer.
I am instead living into what is yet to be.
Instead of allowing myself to feel that my independent quarter-century in the States is being painfully pulled from me strand by strand with every passing day leaving me without, I will speak words of life – words of truth – over my feelings. I will build new neural pathways in my brain! To line up with God’s promises:
“I, Josephine SG Coleman, have a promising and fulfilling future. I! Josephine SG Coleman, have a promising and fulfilling future! I-I-I! Josephine SG Coleman, have a promising and fulfilling future!!”
Think Inigo Montoya.
I stand alone in the Waitrose checkout line surrounded by “happy couples” and two-parent families and say it over myself.
I check my – only currently – slowly diminishing bank balance and say it over myself.
I hug my children at night and say it over them, for them, with them.
I look in the mirror, slapping on quantities of thick facial moisturiser against the British winter, and say it over myself.
And speaking it aloud has really turned my thinking around. It has struck the Sword of truth into the ground and banished the darkness and gloom.
Being taken away from my life in America is emphatically not the end of my book! Because look! I’m still here. The chapter that has just ended is simply the one that closed most recently in order for the next one to begin.
I still have passion! And humour! And a desire to contribute in ways that will fully use up my talents!
So I am turning the page and choosing to return to America this week with a lightness of heart, not a heaviness of spirit. Because my story is not over, and neither is yours. It is far from over. I go back to hug dearly beloved friends who I will carry forward with me via the miracle of the internet and social media. I go back to embrace the gorgeousness of California in the fall knowing that no-less-but-different gorgeousness is present around me here in leafy Surrey. I go back to bless my close and faithful church family at the Valley Vineyard in Reseda, to share what God is doing in and through my life at the faithful community here at Emmaus Road in Guildford.
Because life is YES in Christ. No matter what. It is a big, fat, ALMIGHTY YES.
Spring is coming. No matter how winter-y it all may now appear.
And I am traveling light.