While I’ve been stateside I’ve been meeting with a spiritual director who’s been helping me process things uncovered during my first term in Japan. This little mini-allegory was inspired by our most recent conversation. It’s been encouraging me and I hope it will encourage you too:

We were trekking through familiar terrain. I was leading her along well-trod paths, highlighting blighted trees and festering pools along the way, when my friend asked, “What’s this?”, and stepped off the path.

She prodded a sign, face-down, wedged in the mud and toed it over. “Huh, how long have you thought this was your plot of land?” Together, we turned and looked back and saw what the sign indicated to be true — the festering bog I’d toured and memorized as my birthright, didn’t belong to me at all.

“So, where’s my…” I stumbled aloud.

“I knew this couldn’t be right,” she said. “Your dad would never leave you something like this.”

And suddenly we saw it in the distance — green, rolling hills, divided by a willow-adorned stream and a sign that said, “Rebecca’s.”

She said, with a chuckle, “Yeah, that makes more sense.” And after a pause, “You know your dad. What made you think this,” she gestured behind us, “was what he left for you?”

Ugh! The years I’ve wasted trying to acclimate myself to that toxic place! And it was never mine, never something I had to take on or train my heart to love.

“I…I don’t know,” I stuttered, eyes glassy with relief in liquid form. “He loves me.”

We turned again to face those gentle hills, the fragrance of hyacinth blooms chasing away the stench from before.

“Come on, let’s go exploring,” she said and tugged my hand toward my new-found acreage.

“Yeah… Let’s go exploring.”

Written March 2020