Updated: Oct 24, 2022
As We drove from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland from Galway on the west, we noticed a point of interest on the map. If we detoured just an hour or so to the north, we could make our way to the northernmost edge of Ireland. We could stand at the edge of things!
Upon arrival, we discovered the terrain was rugged and wind-swept. In the place where the land met the north Atlantic Ocean, someone had erected a simple altar whose backdrop was the vast sea beyond. The primitive cross stood resolute amid the stone altar. The presence of the Lord was clearly there.
I stood in humble awe at the brink of the created world which lay before me. It left me almost breathless, desiring to whisper in the sacred space at the edge of things. I knelt in humility, and thanked God for the opportunity to be in this place; for the gift of travel.
Upon reflection, I realized that only the most hearty of people choose life in this remote and stunning land of Ireland. When I am on the edge of things, like I was here, I find I am more contemplative. This time for reflection comes naturally, and I seek not to fill the space with anything but the current moment and space.
I’ve been on the edge of things a lot in these past five years. On the edge of my single, widowed life. On the edge of friendships that once were with other couples, gathering together as my late husband and I socialized with them. On the edge of my vocation, leaving the local church ministry for chaplaincy at the hospital. On the edge of society when the pandemic was at its worst. On the edge of new friendships and relationships. On the edge emotionally and mentally when loneliness was at its worst.
Growth happens on the edge of things when I am able to really reflect on what brings me to these places. Yet growth comes with a cost.
It is often times so very lonely doing life on the edge of things. When my grief reels is nasty head, it's difficult to fully engage when I don’t know where I fit in. It puts me on the edge to wonder what the future has in store for me, who will share that future with me.
In these moments, I turn to God in prayer. No flowery words are spoken, just casual conversation with the Friend who is always near, pouring out the deep things within my soul.
I ask for clarity in my relationships. I seek ways to have grace and offer forgiveness to those whom I feel have wronged me. I try not to take things too personally.
It is seldom easy, though. It takes intentionality. Reaching out from the tunnels of darkness that threaten to close in on me requires effort, and I know I cannot do it alone.
God regularly “pulls me from the muddy pit and sets me on solid soil.” (see Psalm 40) When this happens to me, “God puts a new song in my mouth.” This new song propels me forward in relationships and activities.
Realization has come to me that I have a choice. I can choose to stay on the edge of things. Or, I can allow God to pull me into the fray that is my life. With God‘s strength within me, I can engage in new relationships. I can try new things, and traverse to new destinations. All it takes is surrender and trust of God in order to engage in these new opportunities that are placed in my path.
The cool thing is, I am certain that if God is a part of it all, then God will orchestrate all of it for good. Did you get that? God will orchestrate my life for good. And yours, too.
Friends, what is keeping you on the edge of things? Is it fear of getting hurt or rejected? Have you become too comfortable with the way things are in your life? I’ll bet it is lonely there, because I know it was for me.
Why not cast your cares on the Lord and let the Lord guide you? (See one Peter 5:7 or Psalm 50:22) A leap of faith is just that….taking action, on faith, without really knowing the outcome. The Lord would love to hold your hand and help you take the leap of faith, propelling you from your time on the edge of things. It may not be easy, but “the Lord will never leave or forsake you.” (See Deuteronomy 31) On that you can rely!
Lord of Love, You offer so much goodness to me if I only reach out and grab it. Pull me from my lonely life on the edge of things, and help me to engage the wonder of the life You have set before me. Please bring people into my life that can help me grow in faith as we grow together in our walk with You. Amen.
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