My body has definitely returned from my travels, but my mind and heart are slow to follow. Truth is, serving cross culturally is like sniffing honeysuckle.
Last night Jo and I went walking. It was unseasonably cool and breezy. Along the way, the wind filled the air with the scent of newly blossomed honeysuckle hanging on unsuspecting trees and fences. It’s not the first time I’ve smelled the heavy aroma of honeysuckle, but it’s new for this season. It’s fresh like the first time I smelled it and full of sweetness. The aroma floating through the air drew my thoughts to other sweet fragrances like jasmine and kudzu and wisteria that will follow on other windy walks. One aroma has a way of leading me to memories and longings for another.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart … ” (Philippians 1:3-7a)
So the time with children and sisters in Romania left me full of their sweetness. It took my thoughts to other places like Thailand and Greece and Bangladesh and more. I do love crossing cultures with God’s truth.
My mind and heart will eventually focus back on “here.” To help the process along, Jo rode with me today as we lunched at a tiny downtown sandwich shop, lingered over coffee with “locals” who know our names, and talked over places and street names and people groups and the history that makes “here” what it is. As “citizens of heaven,” we love “here” while waiting for our Savior (Philippians 3:20). After all, every place has a sweet fragrance.
What’s something you love about the place you call home or the locals where you live?