I think I’ve kept you fairly well updated on the progress of this little project since my husband planned dream adventures with each of our kids. Maybe I failed to mention that I have a dream in the mix as well and the name of the dream is: Europe. I have been both a student and teacher of church history for the past few years and I am dying to see the birthplace of the early church with my very own eyes. No one loves travel like my husband and so he was all in with this idea. Now, Whitney and Corey’s (and Casey too!) dream was to go on a cruise with Steve and so we thought: why not let these dreams work together?
That was in April. I remember the very night we sat down, added and re-added our bank accounts (and some gifts that generous friends had given in support of Steve’s project) to see if we could actually make this thing happen and then – with shaky hearts – made the call to Norwegian to book our dream Mediterranean cruise. Honestly, I still have trouble talking about because it seems so opulent and extravagant – but I am amazed at all the ways that God has stepped in and stamped His ‘yes’ on this adventure.
We leave next Wednesday.
I wish I had the words to tell you all the feelings that are racing through my heart about this trip. Some of those feelings are the rush of excitement and joy you would expect – some are a little more anxious and angsty (I really love that word, even though it always gets the squiggly red line). There’s a part of this that is such a fulfillment of everything I’ve dreamed and a part that is so achingly bittersweet that I can’t even frame adequate phrases around it all.
These warring emotions each hold a sacred space inside my heart. They are both appropriate and appropriately dissonant. Just as Steve is learning to live in the tension of physical limitations and spiritual freedom, I am learning to live in the tension between the now and then, the joy and sorrow, the here and the hereafter. It’s poignant and beautiful and difficult and while I think the enemy of my soul would want to use this tension to separate me from my awareness of the goodness of Jesus, so far it is doing exactly the opposite. This deep significance that lingers over every trip, every sweet conversation, every perfect photograph, every dream-come-true-15-years-ahead-of-schedule is digging to the depths of my questions and producing this one, increasingly brilliant theology (which I know I’ve shared before, but I’m not budging from it yet): Life is hard, God is beautiful. I know this. I treasure it. Because the pain of life as it washes up against the foundation of a well-constructed house actually serves to highlight the perfection of the Builder of the house.
God is good and what He does is always and only beautiful.
I am going to Italy with the man that I love.
You better believe I’ll tell you all about it.