January 6th marked a year that I've lived in Australia and it's been an INCREDIBLE year. There have been so many different times over my duration here that I've sat in awe at what the Lord has done for me and for my family. Anyway, I'm not sure when it first hit me, but somewhere along the line I saw a parallel between my time here in Australia and our time here on Earth. This comparison will be grossly generalized and obviously will not apply to everyone, but hopefully it will be something to think about.
When I moved over a year ago I knew that it was temporary; there has never been a time when I thought we might live here permanently. Because of that knowledge we have made it a point to do and see things while living on this side of the world because we know we won't have this opportunity again. Several times we've had conversations with people here and they've said, "You've seen more of Australia than we have and we've lived here our whole lives." I can think of three different trips off the top of my head that we took only because we knew we were leaving sooner rather than later. It was a 'now or never' mentality so we did it. On one of those trips we ended up meeting another American family living here temporarily. They had been here for four years at that point and were saying how they haven't really done anything while they've lived over here and that they probably wouldn't start until they knew they were moving back. At that point they would probably cram in whatever they could. I couldn't wrap my brain around that mentality. There were all of these things they wanted to do and all of these places they wanted to see, but they weren't doing anything about it. They had the time and resources but seemed to be okay with cramming in whatever could be crammed once the time came. It was this conversation that got my wheels turning.
Isn't that mentality so like life? We get caught up in the day-to-day. We have a bucket list with all of these phenomenal desires but we don't really do anything about making those desires a reality until we have to, until we know we're almost out of time to do so.
I don't think our lives are intended to be lived that way. I think our world is so vast and so beautiful that God wants us to experience it. I think He created such majesty among us for our enjoyment. I believe He's given us these gifts to whet our appetites for what's to come because even the most magnificent image we can capture in this life will pale in comparison to what's waiting for us when our time on this earth is up. And how exciting is that??? The places and things of this world aren't meant to be crammed in at the last minute; they are meant to be savored and enjoyed and truly experienced to get us ready.
Much to our families' dismay, we don't know how much longer we'll be here. We have already exceeded the original time frame of only being here until September 2012, however I'm fairly confident we'll be back in the US at some point during 2013 - although I really have no idea. That being said, apart from being so far away from friends and family, we're in a really good spot. We love being here. We love where we live. We love the life we live here. But we're ready to go home. Overall, we've lived life to the fullest and we'll continue to do so, but this is not our home and our hearts are being pulled to where we can begin our next chapter. We are longing for permanence, to establish our family and put down roots. As we know our time here is drawing to a close, I love that we can look back on our experience here with full hearts. I love that we're excited to still be here every day, but know we'll be even more excited when it's time to leave to begin the next phase for our family. And I love that we'll leave with no regrets.
I'm reminded of the "not of this world" Christian t-shirts. It's true; as Christians we are not of this world. However, how do we get excited about the world that awaits us for eternity? I think the simplest answer is to truly experience the world that was given to us during this interim. How great would it be to know our time has come and be able to look back with excitement at all we have done and seen knowing that as awesome as the journey has been, the best is yet to come. The end isn't a time to look back with regret at what you weren't able to accomplish; it's a time to play your life's highlight reel and celebrate knowing that those experiences are just the beginning because our minds can't fathom what's waiting for us. This world is not our home; it's our temporary dwelling.
I hope that I have many, many more years to come and that I can see my grandchildren as adults. I hope I can live life to its fullest and be excited to greet each and every day. I hope I can continue to experience all that God wants me to experience. And I hope that when my time draws near I can look back on the life that I've lived with a full heart and no regrets. I want to look at those I love and say, "I love you. I'll miss you. I'll see you again soon. But for now, I'm ready to go Home." I can't imagine being in a better spot than that.