1. Selah Places
We find the word “Selah” at the end of many of the Davidic Psalms. It’s a phrase that has multiple meanings. One of them is, “Stop and Listen.” Life is chaotic, to say the least. I live in a beautiful home on the lake with twenty-four (yeah, you read it right) roommates, all of whom work in the same office I do. Can you say: Welcome to the life of an intern? Life is nothing if not crowded and loud. There’s not a lot of personal space or personal time, which has the potential to be seriously overwhelming for even the most extroverted introvert. When life gets heavy and hard to bear, I head for the dock, a quiet place at the bottom of our hill. I have an open invitation from the Lord to meet Him there. When I accept it, I find the breath I need, the peace I’ve lost and the assurance that He is steady, sovereign and still King over everything, including my wayfaring heart.
2. A Well-Written, Well-lived Story
My story begins with my name. In short, it was prophetic. The Scottish heather plant—my namesake—is known for flourishing in difficult places, places where other plants can’t even grow. God and I have built my life in this same kind of rocky, but fertile soil. From a storytelling perspective, this is the good stuff. Tragedy and triumph. Rebellion and redemption. Passion—the root means pain—and parameters. Dreams and then, discovering the Dream-Giver. Life and life abundant. As a writer, I try to record that tension, that journey with—often—-inadequate language. And yet I have learned that to be a writer is not only to be a witness to this one wild and precious life, but a vibrant participant. I never want to be accused of creating a story I haven’t lived to the full, but rather, want to live a story worth recording.
The first three months of my World Race were spent in Central America. There is something about living in a country that ingrains their language into the bones of you in a way that learning it from a teacher never could. The culture is your escuela, her people, your professora. It was the depth in the wrinkles around the eyes of an abuelita as she kissed my cheek in wordless and universal hello that cemented a love for her language in me. Over a year after leaving that part of the world, I haven’t been able to shake my adoration for Spanish and often find myself slipping into the unfamiliar—and yet strangely natural—cadence it has. One day, I swear, I’m going to be fluent in it and not just flirting with it.
4. Wearing His Clothes
My boyfriend—my truly wonderful man—recently went back on the mission field for five months. And while someone wisely reminded me that though the days are long, the weeks are short, the truth of the matter is that some days are just longer than others. Thankfully, before he left, we transferred the majority of his closet into my keeping, so I’ve been spending a good bit of time bundled up in his things. The funny part is that I often find that I feel more beautiful and more myself this way—sans makeup and with hair piled up on top of my head, wandering around my house in his old blue flannel shirt and my leggings –than anywhere else. I’d like to think that more than anything, it’s because when I wear his clothes, I remember how much he loves me as I am, flaws and quirks and process and all. And that makes me think about how much Jesus loves me the same way. When I think about that I have to stop and catch my breath because they both really, really love me. And there’s something about being loved totally for ourselves, isn’t there?
5. Cooking for Community
I spent last week in an industry-standard kitchen elbows deep in camp food, serving 120 people three meals a day on a (roughly) $1 a day per person budget. When I say that my co-chef and I made something out of nothing, I’m not exaggerating by much. I mean, really, who could have predicted the success of frozen meatballs cooked in spaghetti sauce and grape jelly? Definitely not us! Still, standing at the grill flipping sausage patties, I realized that cooking for people is one of the great joys of my life. I love the looks of contentment and enjoyment that linger on faces when I serve them a spectacular chicken parmesan or whiskey almond cake. I love perusing cookbooks for new recipes and techniques to try out. More than anything, I love it when what takes me hours to make is devoured, crumbs and all, in less than fifteen minutes. Now that’s the mark of good meal.
Heather Hartz lives on a misty lake in northern Georgia where she writes, kayaks and sings her prayers. She has a habit ofleaving the country at random and is captivated by joy at least fourteen times a day. You can find her at the closest kitchen table with a map, a Sharpie and a glass of Malbec, planning her next voyage, and this time, she’s not going alone. You can follow her blog at http://allyourmaps.wordpress.com or heatherhartz.theworldrace.org.