I have the windows open in my room right now, and I can see the wind running it’s hand through the tops of the trees outside. Gray clouds. It’s Autumn today.
About 2 and a half years ago I decided it would be a neat thing to write a book. And so, I set out to write it. I got about 26 pages in, too. The thing is, it wasn’t meant to be a children’s book, a pamphlet, a magazine article, or a research paper… so 26 is actually a failure.
There, I admit it. I failed.
In fact, I’ve failed a lot of things since then.
Some French quizzes. Keeping the Sabbath. Completing another Spartan Race. Remembering colleagues names. Finishing a swimming competition. Mailing finished paperwork. Being patient. Being selfless. Properly observing the Feasts. Graduating.
And you get the point.
I’m sitting underneath sheets right now, in a fort, in my room, in a house, in Indiana. It sounds so unlike anything I imagined I’d be doing 2 and a half years ago. There is no book. And there are no other things that I thought I’d have at this point in life – like my degree. But I’m content.
And my failures, however unwanted at some point or another, played a large part in bringing me here.
It is the middle-ish of the Feast of Sukkot. A feast to remember when Adonai brought Israel out of Egypt and had them live in sukkot as they wandered in the desert. And because I can’t very well trust this neighborhood not to mug me if I were to sleep in a tent on the lawn, I am here – underneath a fort of blankets and pillows, on the floor, eye level with the windows.
It’s a party in here.
And I celebrate right now by remembering where I was, just like Israel did. Remembering what they came out of and where they were going. I wonder what some of them had as plans for their future? Maybe it wasn’t writing a book, but I’m sure that, being human, that at least had some desires for their lives. And yet, when they left Egypt (especially in the circumstances that they left it in), I doubt any of them were thinking, “Yes! My dreams of running out of Egypt, watching them all drown in a parted sea, and living in booths for the rest of my life, has finally come true!” No, they actually complained a whole heck-of-a-lot.
But here humanity is! However many thousands of years later, still remembering those years, and honoring it by doing likewise. And it isn’t a week of complaining. It’s a week of celebrating. Of honoring Yahweh, who heard the cry of those he loved, and brought them out of their misery in order to provide a better home.
Was it immediate? Did they go to bed one evening in Egypt, and wake up the next in a mystical land flowing with milk and honey? No. In fact, they had, in a way, to prove their devotion to Yahweh by trusting him to lead them there. They were being brought to the destination, not the destination to them.
So as I sit, enjoying this little tent and that reminiscent feeling of being 8 again, I think about where I am, where I am being brought out of, and where I am being brought to.
I chuckled when I wrote the title for this post: A Suburban Sinai. Mount Sinai was a pretty amazing place for the Israelites – for both good and bad reasons. A place of sin, but also a place of forgiveness. It was there that they were made aware of Yahweh’s laws and commandments.
This past 8 weeks here has kind of felt that way. 8 weeks of living in a new place that wasn’t my previous home of childhood nor my next home of adulthood. 8 weeks of learning what it means to be content and not complain – a struggle. 8 weeks learning about Yahweh, His laws, His desires, His heart. And 8 weeks of being led through thoughts and realizations and fears.
Not that 8 weeks is the new 40 years, but I’m not Israel, am I?
And I didn’t leave Egypt.
And I’m not going to a land filled with actual Canaanites.
So I’ll take my suburban Sinai, and learn what I can, as I can.
All underneath my linen sukkah.