posted by Kimberly Collins, July 20 2013
Today is our last full day on the farm. It may as well have been yesterday that I moved in, and last week that I was in Chile. Oh, mercy, how the time just scoops us right up.
I said it before I arrived and I affirm it in retrospect: there is nothing I would rather have come home to. It’s been so refreshing this summer to work my body and rest my mind. To sit back from strenuous academics and stick my hands into some good soil (and unfortunately also some rotten potatoes). To finally be somewhere for more than a month, and to be well and powerfully rooted in that place. My spirit has been able to wander and run wild and unstrained, and my soul has gratefully eased into rhythms of work, prayer, rest, and community. The repetition and monotony of comforting routine have blessed me with abundant time for appreciation, reflection, and laughter. Truly, it has been such a beautiful and life-giving place of rejuvenation for my weary self.
This will be my senior year at Hope College, my final lap of institutionalized education, and yet it feels like just last year that I was running around my elementary school play ground during recess, making flower crowns and scraping my knees on those dang wood chips and marveling at how different the world looks hanging upside down on the monkey bars. I’m so thankful for all that I’ve learned along the way, both inside the classroom and out, and I await with anticipation the weeping and celebration that this year will bring.
I’m learning the value of praise. For the delightful and the difficult, the merry and the mopey and the mundane, when I’m breezing along in blissful serenity and when I feel like my heart’s being ripped out and stomped on. And mostly, praise for the people who have dried my tears and filled my belly with laughter and carried my heart when I could not carry it myself. When the whirlwind of seasons is scooping me up off my feet, I’m learning to cling to those people and celebrate what we’ve been given and praise Him for time well spent.
I praise Him for good, slow-cooked, homemade food, for soulful singing, for an upcoming wedding, for gracious and giving housemates, for weeping and for belly laughs. For intern Olympics and potlucks and lunch time squash-spearing. For bonfires and brews and good company, for sunset soaks in Lake Michigan, for inspiring and generous host families. For days of rest and time horizontal and for welcoming our days with prayer. I praise Him for a bountiful and blessed season and the people that filled it.
And I look forward with thanksgiving also, clinging to the hope of more goodness to come, that this is not the best it will ever be. I praise Him for the joys and sorrows and people yet to be had.
For through it all, you, oh God, have been my rock, my thick and thin, every moment of every day, in every breath I take, closer than my skin. Truly I can say you never once left me, you have held and carried me through it all. And I think that, more than anything, is what I praise you for right now. You are the one constant, my connector between these seasons and every one to come. I’m listening to the song “Give me Jesus” right now and tearing up as I type this. Jesus, let this be the prayer of my heart, as it has been throughout my anticipations and celebrations of these seasons. I pray that in whatever corner of the earth in which you plant me, I will bloom my best and love that place and that community and neck of the woods as best as I can. And I pray that wherever I am, I will wail my worship with everything I have within me. Blessed Jesus, by your grace we are saved. May we praise your name all our days for the times you have lavished on us.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you.
May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors.
-Traveler’s blessing, common prayer.