I walk these streets and I hear the sounds of cars passing and honking, the lights of billboards and the draft of the people who push past me. The street food smells sour but there is hardly any trash on the ground amidst the lack of trash cans. The people are beautiful here. The children are beautiful here.
I already had a heart for these places before I arrived; that hasn’t changed. And I know I’m not supposed to stay here for keeps, but somehow a new world opened up to me to understand this path.
That’s how we find home, I think. Knowing that in a particular place there is a different life inside of us, a light that burns brighter than before. Our soul stirs, our eyes open and we wake up, we wake up to see that everything is different than before. I felt that on my first college visit to Hope. I feel it in the streets in Thailand.
Thailand itself is not perfect. No place truly is. But there are times we can turn imperfection perfect with one glance of our eye, the eyes we use to build the world around us.
In my heart, I feel it. I feel the concrete and the drains beneath my feet and for what might be the first time, I’m completely grounded. I’m here in a place that doesn’t know my name, but I’ve heard its name for a while now. This is love, this is real love.
I work my way from far in the future back to this moment that I’m in, because it’s really all I have for now. I’ve felt the praise well up from inside of me from day one of being here, but it wasn’t until Wednesday morning, two weeks in, that I woke up with a permanent shift in my being to know that my faith and the love that comes from it is everything, and there is nothing else.
It’s not worth it to complain, even when we are hungry or tired or walking in the rain. It’s not worth the heartache of anger or fear in the midst of tragedy or loss. It’s about fighting against feeling annoyed and trapped. It’s giving freely. All of these things that have held me back I have chosen to leave behind in my last season. This is the season of love. This is the season of victory.
It’s about love, it’s always been about love. Here’s why:
Love: casts out all fear (1 John), covers our mistakes (1 Peter), promotes patience (1 Corinthians), expects nothing (John), bears with one another (Ephesians), binds together in perfect unity (Colossians), is sincere (Romans), is inseparable from us (Romans 8); I could speak more forever.
But there are two of those verses I want to connect, two verses that combined to teach me perfect love (1 John 4:18 / 1 Corinthians 13:4-7):
“But perfect love casts out all fear, because / it is patient, it is kind, it does not envy, does not boast, does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
When we put it that way, how could we live in fear in an environment or relationship that is always patient, kind, giving, selfless, even-tempered, truthful, safe, trusting, hopeful, and enduring?
Love makes a home that lives inside of us.
That home is what makes me feel still.
It’s about timing. Flowers need time to grow, cities must be built, trash cans don’t magically overflow.
I’m learning that it’s about who we are in the moment- this moment- that is most important. We rise and fall like the tide, or the traffic, and I know, I know that our identity doesn’t rely on who we’ll be in the future but it instead depends on now. And now passes so quickly.
What lies in our future doesn’t shape us. But our perception of it in the now, does.
So for now, I’ll sip on my mocha frappe and I’ll remind myself that as I walk through my life, my faith is real because love is real.
I’ll tame my heart and captivate my mind with what has been given to me: love. Real love.
It’s been a fine 5 days, Bangkok. Back to Chiang Mai I go.