Monday, January 12, 2015

A Night on Miyajima and thoughts on the New Year

I went to Miyajima on my last day with my Seishuin Juhatchi Kippu.
You all know my thoughts on Miyajima...I never get tired of it. 
It's one of those places that is completely familiar, but always offers something new. 
It requires just enough of a journey to be considered an adventure, but is close enough to home to be spontaneous. I've spent so many afternoons on that island...hiking Mt. Misen and following deer down nondescript mountain trails, eating Okonomiyaki with friends from Kyoto and watching the sun set with people I love most.  
It holds a special place in my heart. 
So, that's where I went for my last days with my rail pass. I reserved a hostel, scooped Mick up, and hopped on the train. 
It was nice...we got there around 5pm and walked around the island until we got too cold to wander. So we found our hostel, dropped our backpacks, and went in search of a warm Okonomiyaki.
We stayed in the most amazing Japanese Guest House, in a traditional tatami room with a shared onsen-style bathroom and were spoiled by the keeper of the house. 
On Saturday morning, I set my alarm for sunrise, made myself a cup of steaming coffee, and watched the sun wake up over the Itsukushima Torii gate from our gigantic widow for an hour. 
The quiet stillness was nice...and I got a chance to reflect on my time left here in this country. 
I have a mere 6 months left, you know. 
Can you believe it?
I can't. 
I thought about my state of mind before our thoughts and goals. And they seemed not so far away. I had a hard time believing they were a whopping 3 years behind me.  I thought about how I envisioned my life in Japan and all the things I wanted to do. 
And then I considered the way things have really been over the past 2 years, and the incredible mark this move has left on my life. 
I did not expect this country to charm me as deeply as it did. I didn't expect to love the culture and language so much, and to form such deep connections with the people here. In my wildest dreams, I could not have fathomed the ways God would move.
It turned out to be nothing like I expected - it turned out to be such a wonderful surprise. 
My cup overflows. 
And once again, as I sat there looking out over Miyajima, absorbing the peacefulness and ease of this beautiful country and meditating on that overflowing cup, I had to remind myself not to cling to this blessing...not to hoard God's goodness for fear of the future. 
That's not faith, after all. 
I had to remind myself to open my hands, and to give God what was always His. 
Because clinging to this blessing is turning a blind eye to those blessings yet to come. 
And like Mr. Tozer said, "Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for those unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now." 
So I purposed to enjoy - to savor. 
I purposed to slow down and to not lose track of the little things.
But I also purposed not to keep my hands open and my eyes on Jesus - on His love for me, and his faithfulness.  

 And as I headed home from Miyajima and watched the towering mountains become smaller behind the waves, I realized that open hands are the most freeing. 
Because they leave it all up to the Creator - the giving and taking.  
And if He's not more than worthy to handle my future, I don't know who is. 

Sometimes I think these thoughts sound redundant and rambling. They are quite repetitive, I know 
But sometimes it takes me a good minute to come to terms with them and to truly live by them. 
So you'll have to forgive me. 

I am still learning, after all. 

And for that, I'm thankful:) 



  1. This is so beautiful, an awesome reminder of His faithfulness. You are so gifted. We miss you and love you.

  2. A poetic reflection, honest, beautiful and deeply moving.


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