Well here it is, on the tenth day of Christmas, the moment when "real life" starts to crash back in, like a rocket returning to Earth.
I have spent much of the day (too much of the day) bracing myself for re-entry back to the regular routine of work and school and meal planning and homework and meetings, rehearsals and study and reading, time limits and deadlines. Truth is, I have a hard time with transitions, and I cringe a little at the thought of returning to work and everything that means. I could probably be a much calmer and more centered version of me, I tell myself, if I stayed home all day, every day. Then again, I probably wouldn't be that calm, centered version of me after downsizing the whole family into a tiny apartment or into a box under the nearest bridge. (So I think I'll keep my job.)
The wise men, certainly, didn't let their reluctance to go wilderness camping keep them from following a star--a star, of all things!--into unknown territory.
There is a kind of faith that lets us step outside our doors, outside our comfort zones, to traverse whatever wilderness, to follow the thing that surprises us, calls us, the brightest light in our night sky.
When you look out into the darkness, what do you see? What light is shining brightest and to where does it call you? How has it reordered your thinking?
There is comfort in knowing that all paths lead to God, who also accompanies us in our present place (as my old friend Heather Powers reminded me the other day, "and on our straits, seen or unseen"). Perhaps that comfort also gives us the courage to discern--what does this calling look like for me, for you? The path starts at the front door, but where does it go from there?
I love J.R.R. Tolkein's song for just this sort of thing, in the voice of Bilbo as he leaves the Shire:
-The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 1