I wasn’t going to blog tonight. I don’t have words of wisdom, no nuggets of truth to dole out tonight. It’s been a long week, a hard week, a week full of ups and downs. A week full of early mornings, waking up stiff on a hard mattress and wishing I could sleep a little bit longer. A week of staring at my reflection in a leotard and wishing that reflection took up a little bit less space in the mirror. A week of standing freezing by the bus stop and missing the days when classes were a 5-minute walk from my dorm room. A week of sore muscles and hard work. A week of searching for joy in the little things and finding it in the steep streets of Valletta, in a hazelnut latte, in pink clouds, in fruit salad. A week of my heart longing to be home with friends and family and familiarity, but also starting to put down little roots in Malta. A week of crying out to God for strength, peace, rest, courage. Sometimes just plain crying.
Most of today has been of the crying variety. I went to church for the first time I arrived here this morning, at St. Andrew’s Scots Church, a Church of Scotland and Methodist church in Valletta, and spent about half of the service blinking back tears. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a Communion Sunday, because I probably would have started sobbing over the wine chalice. Being there made me miss the traditions of the Anglican church that I’m so accustomed to. I missed The Falls Church and it’s familiar voices, the pastor I’ve heard preaching for years. I missed Church of the Redeemer, and the new family that I’ve found there in Greensboro. I missed being surrounded by friends during worship. But even sitting alone in that pew, singing hymns I didn’t know, surrounded by people with unfamiliar names and faces – it was so good to be in a church again. The Lord’s Prayer is the same, whether you say Your will or Thy will be done, and joyful noise includes both organ and djembe, and He is present no matter the building or country or denominational flavor.
So it’s been a day of tears, of homesickness and loneliness and worry and fear. It’s been a day of crying during church and in front of my laptop and onto my journal pages. It’s been a day of talking to friends, wishing I could hear their voices and see their faces in front of me, but grateful that I can at least have their words. It’s been a day of finding rest in good music and worship songs. A day of catching up on the blogs sitting in my reader, and finding quiet strength in the words of the other. A day of scribbling words into a notebook, crying out with pen and paper and soul for God to come near, now, please, because I have need of You. A day of clinging to His words and His goodness, wrapping my fingers around His promise to never forsake me and holding on so tight. A day of reminding myself that He sees me, that He knows where I am and where I’m going, that His plans for me are good.
A day of reminding myself that sorrow may last for a night, but trusting that joy comes with the morning.