We got home last Tuesday night around ten o’clock at night, Mountain Standard Time. Also known as around five o’ clock in the morning in London, where we were arriving from; also known as seven o’clock in the morning in Greece, where we had been a few days before.
Do you know what I noticed as soon as we walked in our front door? How big our house felt. After staying mostly in little European rooms, having our very own ten-foot ceilings and white kitchen felt like a whole new and unfamiliar world.
The next thing I noticed was when we woke up the next morning: how beautiful it was outside our windows. The hops that we started last year for shade had grown up till they are bowing the line and the pole they are climbing. The wheat in the fields around us was light green, turning gold. The birds were excited for a new summer morning, and the sun made the most beautiful patches on the wood floor and my coffee cup and my husbands blond/red scruff.
I saw it all through new eyes.
I recommend traveling outside the country where you live, and this is the first reason why. You very likely will come home and see the place you live in a slightly different way. And while Idaho still doesn’t necessarily feel like home to me, coming back to it after five weeks of seeing different places and noticing their own unique flowers and weather patterns and language lilts—it made me notice it more for itself.
I recommend traveling outside the country where you live for another reason, too (more, but just two reasons for now). Here is something it triggered for me: a new realization that God is present and active in other places, all over the world.
I’ve traveled outside my home country before, so I thought I knew this about God already. To be fair, I think I did realize it before we got on a straight through flight from Newark to Athens at the beginning of June. But I re-realized, fresher this time.
In Greece, there are people in the cities and villages who are living worship-filled lives. They’re making tea and iced spritzers for anyone who comes in their doors. They can often be heard singing and laughing throughout the day. They speak of God working in their lives with an air of certainty—not in an arrogant way, but confidently: like I would tell you of how my husband brews coffee for both of us every morning or kisses me at night before we fall asleep.
In Wales, there is a friend of mine that has been changed by Jesus. I know because I knew him before. And there’s others there who are showing up faithfully to their home congregation of believers, discussing truth and justice with other saints, offering meals and a walk by the sea to anyone who might be a friend, twinkling their eyes with an air of God’s presence about them.
If God is in those places, don’t you think that means He is here, too?
Travel is a privilege, and I know not everyone has the capacity financially or schedule-wise to buy a ticket to another country. But if you can, do it. You might come home with fresh eyes and fresh strength and a fresh knowing that God’s presence and Spirit are making an active difference, even in your broken and familiar home.
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