Monday, October 8, 2012

The Adventures of a Car-less Nomad

I sold my car as I was leaving for Africa. One of my best friends bought it. As I was riding in it with her the other day, there might have been a little bit of a weird factor, but the funny thing is, I haven’t really missed it.

When I had a car, the Lord took great care of me. And since not having a car, He’s taken great care of me. I don’t have as much independence now, but I was never promised independence. What I have been promised time and time again is the provision and presence of my Papa.

To Him, I am more valuable than the sparrows, and more beautiful than the lilies of the field. He holds all the wealth of Heaven, and loves to do immeasurably more than this daughter might ask or even imagine. Of course He will take care of me. It is His great delight.

To many, I may look like a homeless hippie without a car. But it feels like quite the opposite (minus the hippie part). It’s almost as if I have more than I've ever had before.

Instead of having one place I call home, I am welcome in many, and I've gotten the privilege of staying in 5 lovely homes over the past month. And in the process, I've almost mastered the gift of packing an overnight bag ... almost.

And this whole not having a car thing has actually given me a more beautiful picture of what true community looks like – the kind of fellowship written about in Acts 2 where all the believers shared everything they had, and no one was in need.

I could go on and on about how friends and family have gone out of their way to pick me up to take me places, of the food we share together (smoothies are our new specialty), the laughs and dance moves that go down, and how we usually end up praying and worshiping together. 

This is more than sharing our physical things with each other. This is life, and we are going through it together.

One of my first nights back at my old apartment in Atlanta, I came in exhausted – mainly emotionally and spiritually. One of my roommates, after listening to me share about the things weighing on my heart, grabbed her guitar, sat on the end  of my bed, and just played it for me, as I laid there and let the tears come.

The whole time I was thinking, “Is this real?” Yes. Of course it’s real that she would support me when I’m going through it. She is my sister, my family. That’s what family does.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to paint a cheesy picture of what God’s family is supposed to look like. I've had plenty of hard and challenging conversations with these same people over the past few years. I've been annoyed with them, and they've been annoyed with me.

But in it all, forgiveness, grace, and honor have been themes. And I've discovered that life is too hard independent of these people. Now that I've tasted true Kingdom family (check out the Greek words, “koinonia” and “oikos”), I don’t want it any other way.  I've never valued my community more than I do now.

And (for now, at least) I praise God for the gift of being a car-less nomad.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Maribeth, This is Jessica Sabo. :) I sold my car before doing Americorps and then never got another one when I came out to Boulder for grad school. A bike (and bus) does just great! And of course I get rides from people when I need to purchase big items, etc. I could be classified as a "hippie", haha, but I wouldn't be alone out here in hippie country.

    I have also experienced the community you're talking about, not just because of my carless-ness, but also because of the willingness of my classmates here to be there for each other. "God's family" looks very different for me out here, as 80% of my friends wouldn't call the deity they worship "God," and they don't go to a traditional church, but the beauty, love and support sure look the same. What a colorful world we live in and what a shape-shifting God we serve...
    I want to encourage you in your work and life and service. Know that there are people around the world who think about and love you! (even the ones you haven't seen you in years :) ) Thanks for sharing about your life.