In a few minutes I’ll be on a plane heading for Nanjing. These were the thoughts bouncing around in my head the night before I left for China a bit less than two years ago. I feel like the girl who’s getting on the train tomorrow is in some ways a completely different person. I have learned so much more than I could have imagined and my life has taken directions I never thought possible then.
This time I know where I’m going. I know my apartment, I know the city, I have friends there and I have seen my workplace. In many ways I’m prepared for another year. Of course there are situations to come that I can’t prepare for, but such situations occur whether in China or in Norway.
In a book I read this year (unfortunately I couldn’t find any name of an English translation, but the Norwegian title is Et hjerte større enn verden), Magnus Malm describes among many things our fear for the future as one of the hidden, unseen, unreachable concepts that we humans try, with out much luck, to control. Loosely translated, he writes that the future simultaneously fills us with hope and resignation, expectations and panic.
He goes on to describe how Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, repeatedly refers to “our Father, who sees the unseen” (my translation, look it up in Matthew 6) He writes “the unseen is not emptiness. Neither is it a hiding place for hostile forces waiting to attack me. Even if there are evil forces in the unseen, there is also someone stronger than them. Our Father is in the unseen.”
I like to think that God, my Father, who is love, is in the future. It takes away the feelings of resignation and panic and leaves my heart filled with hope and expectations.