02 May 2010

Lead Kindly Light

Three years ago, right now, I was sitting in Fitz Park. Fitz Park is a small but happy little place in Keswick, England - one of my favorite towns in the entire world. Keswick is in The Lake District - an area in the North Western part of England known for their, wait for it, lakes - and their untouched countryside, mountains, and the general sense of peace there. I don't know if I could ever live in Keswick permanently - it's a bit too small for a girl who grew up in the suburbs - but it is a place that I will always have a soft spot for. It's a beautiful, remarkable sort of place to just be.

I was in Keswick that time around for my study abroad. On this study abroad, our theme hymn was "Lead Kindly Light", a song that I'd always loved but understood better after actually walking across the moors and having my feet be so literally far from home. Since then it's more or less been my favorite hymn. This morning I turned on my church music playlist on iTunes and "Lead Kindly Light" was the first song to come up. Normally I'd smile and think about how much I like that song and move on with getting ready for church, but I stopped today, thinking instead about how appropriate this song is to my life right now.

Several months ago I decided I was moving. I decided that I was ready to be done with Provo, that I didn't want to do what everyone else does in sticking around Utah forever, that I was tired of living where I am and needed change - that the best way to get it would be by going somewhere entirely different and new. A clean break. I wanted Seattle. I went to visit for a week in April. I went again the next week for a teaching fair. The second I got off the plane - or soon after, anyway, I knew what I'd more or less known and been stubbornly denying the entire time - that it wasn't where the Lord wanted me to be. I had been - like the song said - trying to choose my own path.

So much of that decision was based on how completely miserable I was for nearly all of February and a good portion of March as well. I was feeling suffocated. I was trapped in a place I didn't want to be without very many real friends around. I holed myself away and threw myself into my teaching. A worthwhile thing, perhaps, but the Lord hasn't ever been entirely content with my hermitting. Neither have I, though I might not always have the gumption to fight against that tendency.

What I am meandering around to say, then, is that I realized again this morning that I am glad that the Lord chooses paths for me instead of allowing me to choose them for myself. I have a great capacity to dream and imagine great things, but the Lord has always known better. In the last several weeks, a string of things has happened that I never thought would have, but they are better than I ever would have imagined them to be on my own. I have made dozens of new, positive friends to replace pessimistic ones. I have opportunities lining up in front of my eyes that I never would have found without meeting those same people. I am in the right place at the right time. These blessings have been months in the making - going all the way back to last August when I first told the school that I wanted to help with the play. Going back to being placed at this school in the first place.

I don't know why the Lord has blessed me in this particular way. I think about the ways that other people are blessed and so much of this feels unnecessary and extra. I don't really need to travel as much as I have, do I? I don't really need theater, do I? Aren't there other ways that aren't quite so elaborate? Ways that don't make me feel this happy? Perhaps - but whether that's true or not, today I am feeling decidedly grateful to my Heavenly Father for caring enough for me to guide me to where I am right now. I am overwhelmed.

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