Saturday, July 21, 2007

Following The Wind

Jess and I just spent a great few days with her family on the West coast of Northern Michigan. One evening we sat down on the shore watching the rather strong wind wreak havoc on the dune flora and coastal trees. It was sunset and while the clouds turned brilliant shades of pastel, the waters faded to deep charcoal blues and greens. I think both of us sat immobile, perhaps transfixed, but definitely deep in thought. I have no idea what Jess was thinking, but I was contemplating a very old question.

Where is the wind going? Where has it been?

That question has been asked countless ways by poets, philosophers, children, scientists, etc. They are searching for beauty, meaning, understanding, and general knowledge. I ask because I feel like this whole past year, and slightly more, Jess and I have been following trails of soft clues blowing in the wind. From meeting one another to getting married; from driving around the US to see loved ones and our great natural abundance to traveling over 4 continents and 8 countries; from working with the destitute in deplorable situations to celebrating with friends in lush paradise-like situations, through all of this Jess and I had no solid plans or itineraries, we just sniffed out the clues from the air, tried to follow the spirit of our hearts, and do life the best we could in our circumstances.

Well, here we are, at the threshold of the one year anniversary of our marriage trying to feel out the wind once again. The three weeks we have had since returning to the US have been, in part, relaxing, but mostly challenging. It is a difficult thing to take eyes and hearts trained for what life is like in Morocco, India, and Thailand, and throw them right back into the US. There are going to be set-backs, heartaches, and probably some headaches. Pile on top of that the need to make decision about the coming year or two and the stress will quite literally make you feel crazy sometimes.

But all that aside, listening, sniffing, and feeling the best we could, Jess and I have reached a decision about our coming year. We have canceled our return tickets to Thailand where I had a good job offer waiting. We decided for the long-term visions and dreams that we have, that was not a good step for us at this time. We have instead decided to move back to the old neighborhood where Jessica lived for a year during her time in Chicago with the inner city ministry organization, Mission Year.

We have an apartment and we are getting my (amazing) old Civic back from the friend who used it for the year we were gone. We are gathering our better clothes, rewriting our resumes, and are headed to Chicago with a purpose. We don't just want Chicago because it is kind of close to home or has good job opportunities or fun stuff to do on the weekends. That stuff is fine, but one thing that this year has shown us is the dire need to be very intentional about our time and efforts.

We are choosing to live in a "bad" part of town because the kids that Jessica knew 3 years ago are still there, they never got to leave. We want to go back, to be with them, and to meet more. We will be living with a wonderful old woman who is now pretty much a shut-in.

Well, we now know where the wind has come from. We can see where we have been together and how we got there. The trick is you just never know where the wind is going. We are doing our best to follow. Right now that is leading us to Chicago.

Jess and I plan on continuing to post here on dirtytoes, so stay tuned. I am sure we will have plenty to write about in coming weeks and months. As for those stories I promised you last post, they are coming too.



Robin said...

Thanks for sharing Jake! I'm thrilled about the new ministry you and Jessica are about to embark upon. You and Jessica will make an impact on the lives of all you come in contact with in Chicago. I'm looking forward to hearing and reading more from both of you! Keep on keeping on and hold on to Jesus!

"Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6;9

Rob said...

Nice to have you guys back. Hopefully we will make it up to Chi-town soon to visit.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Keep us posted - hope you enjoy the "riverbank" where you were married! Many deep thoughts have gone out over that river I am sure.

I read in my devotions today; "does God have your permission to do whatever it takes to get your attention?" I am struggling with that, I think right now I'd rather He didn't "shake me" too hard.

God Bless!
Indian Lake Papa

elle & josh said...

hooray! we look forward to having you as "neighbors" (3 hours is quite neighborly, comparatively) for this season. now that you'll be in chicago i hope you can meet our friends sherwin & amy. they're urban gardeners + really fun people with hearts for india. we'll make our way to chicago for a visit soon! i'm sure it was so difficult to let go of asia for the year, but we trust the Lord will fill you with His peace, & will fill this year with many gorgeous things. we love you guys! --michelle

mai said...

I am excited for you. I am glad to hear you guys come back there. And please, please, please. If there's anything, ANYTHING I can do for you (prayer, financially, whatever...) please let me know.

jess devries said...

welcome home!! it will be good to have you two around. :) we can share vegetarian recipes and chat and celebrate the city together.

Anonymous said...

Jess...I found this as I randomly googled your name. Imagine that. You look wonderful and happy. Congrats on your marriage. I am so happy for you.
I'm a little heart broken we haven't stayed in touch. Hope all is well. Miss ya. Sal

Anonymous said...

would this be a broken wind?