I Have a Secret
Sometimes I still miss Thailand.
It’s been 10 months since I’ve returned home, and within that time my life has taken on its wildest adventure yet…but I still miss the Land of Smiles from time to time.
When I look at my friend’s pictures on Facebook I miss the sights of Thailand. I miss the smells of Thailand. I miss the heat, which embraces you like a warm hug the moment you step outside. I miss the Thai people, who are unlike any I’ve ever met before, and I miss my friends, who in 6 short months gave me a glimpse of how beautiful community could be.
But even though I miss Thailand, I wouldn’t go back. I hope that one day I can visit and proudly show off all my favourite places and people and foods, but I made a choice – and it was a good one.
Wisdom Calls Aloud in the Streets
When I came back from Thailand I decided that I wanted to make decisions based on wisdom, not emotion. Admittedly, this was new for me.
Emotion told me to go back to Thailand because transitioning to life in Canada was hard, and hard is bad. But hard doesn’t have to be bad. Hard is an opportunity to persevere and build character – which is what wisdom kept saying (in the form of my friend Jen).
And then when I met Simon, wisdom told me I’d be a fool not to get to know him more. In the beginning I was torn. I recognized the man that I had been praying for, but Thailand was still tugging at my heart.
Yet wisdom called out clearly: I had no job in Thailand. And furthermore, I had no money to get back to Thailand. In fact, I had a deficit.
So I continued to let wisdom do its thing. And now…here we are :)
Here I Raise my Ebenezer
A year ago I imagined myself flying back to Thailand right around this time – as soon as my lease was up. Instead, last week I was flying to Thunder Bay, Simon’s hometown.
We had lunch one day with Pete and his wife Alicia. Pete is the Pastor of Student Ministries at Simon’s home church. Before I met Pete I felt like I knew him, probably because Simon has told me so much about him and the impact he’s had on his life.
“Do you know what an Ebenezer is?” Pete asked us as we were eating our lunch.
“Not exactly,” we responded. We were familiar with the lyrics of the hymn sung in church, “here I raise my Ebenezer” but we never knew what it meant.
He explained that in the bible Samuel raised a stone of help to commemorate victory in battle over the Philistines. He called this stone an Ebenezer. An Ebenezer is a sign of God’s presence and faithfulness.
“Natalie is your Ebenezer,” Pete told Simon.
I’ve been reading through my old journal entries and it’s clear that Simon is also my Ebenezer. He is the embodiment of the very words I have written in my journal as a prayer to God for the man I would marry. Some of these prayers – word for word – have also shown up in the lyrics of the songs that Simon has written for me.
Freaky? Spooky? Farfetched?
Or perhaps, just a sign of God’s presence and faithfulness and delight in writing good stories for his children.
It’s true – sometimes I still miss Thailand. But longing for Thailand isn’t a bad thing, because that longing is what reminds me of my “stone of help” and is what brought me to my Ebenezer.