I’m a fan of the ellipsis—the “dot, dot, dot” (…) that is sometimes used in writing to denote a pause in thought. An ellipsis is a connector of sorts, a bridge linking a previous moment with the next one. Sometimes the link is obvious; sometimes more veiled, but always intentional. Ellipses are my friends. They allow me to explore the inner conversation of my soul on a continuum that keeps the flow of thought fluid and pulsing. Without them, the thinking stops, the conversation ends, and what began as a good pondering gets tucked away for another day’s rumination.
As it goes with my writing, so it goes with my life. Today, I’m living in the midst of my “dot, dot, dot.” Today an ellipsis has arrived on the page of my life, and I am reminded of the importance of its existence. Without this bridge, I’ll never be able to connect my yesterday with my tomorrow. Without the pause, without the indicator that something is soon to follow my “dot, dot, dot,” then all that remains for me is that which has come before—the previous forty-four years’ worth of days that I call my life.
I happen to believe that there is more to my life than what has come before. I happen to believe in tomorrow and in its connection to all of my yesterdays. They cannot be separated even though they will try. What lies ahead… what is lived ahead is intricately linked to every moment that has lived previously. This is the way of a pilgrim’s journey.
For six years’ worth of days, my journey’s been lived upon the hallowed ground known as Rosewood, NC. Mind you, that’s not our official name. My mailing address reads Goldsboro, but for those of us who live within a few square miles of the 581 and Rosewood Rd. intersection, we name our residency accordingly. One doesn’t know that going in; some things about living here are learned… earned over time. Love stands a prerequisite for that learning; without love, Rosewood is just another location between here and there… another obscurely hidden dot on the map easily missed if one isn’t intent on the find.
Six years ago, I was intent on the find, and I am not disappointed by my discovery. What Rosewood lacks in aesthetics is amply made up for by the beauty of its inhabitants. People are what make this place a worthy investment. Long before I arrived here with family, God saw fit to include us in Rosewood’s history. It’s been a very good place to raise a family, an even better place to live a faith. Tonight, we stand in the middle of our ellipsis. We cannot go back and rewrite the previous years’ remembrances. Instead, we can honor their existence by pausing in this “dot, dot, dot,” believing that what has been scripted into our hearts here has counted and will continue to count for what God is going to script into our hearts next—the other side of this ellipsis.
This is our leaving time, friends, a time of going so that the time of God’s up-and-coming can arrive. It’s not an easy advance for any of us; our hearts are tremendously grieved with the good-bye. But as our dear friend, Tom, reminded us over lunch today (thank you Friendship SS Class for showing up in force at Torero’s), we risk something with our loving… we risk the pain of the “letting go.” Still and yet, we wouldn’t choose otherwise. To limit love is to limit authentic living. This, too, is the way of a pilgrim’s journey.
I imagine it will take me a long season to unpack the lessons that I’ve learned over the past six years in this place; some thoughts are better processed on the other side of the bridge. I’m looking forward to reflecting on them in the days to come… to holding them closely as my comfort and to recalling them as stones of remembrance in honor of the faithfulness of my Father’s love and watchful care over me and my family in this past season. I’ve spent nearly one-seventh of my tenure on planet earth in this place, and it’s been a good fit for my heart. I pray the same for the other side of my “dot, dot, dot.” I ask the Lord to be as good to me there as he’s been to me here. I cannot imagine him doing it any other way.
But I’m not there yet; tonight I’m resting in this ellipsis… confident of the words that God has written into my journey up to this point… confident of the words that will arrive via his pen to continue my story until they write me all the way home to heaven.
Perhaps, like me, you’re living in an ellipsis right now. There’s been a pause in your heart that has you wavering in between your yesterday and your tomorrow. You’re not stuck; you’re simply waiting… believing… hoping… dreaming. It’s been a hard bridge for you to navigate, yet to forsake these necessary steps is to miss the other side of your “dot, dot, dot.”
Don’t miss your “dot, dot, dot,” friend. Walk it. Quicken your pace, strengthen your feeble knees, and fortify your faith for the second half of the sentence. There is a tremendous beauty that comes with a finishing thought—a wholeness that replaces the partiality of a single phrase. Don’t be afraid to allow God to complete your pause. Instead, ready your heart for its arrival. God never writes anything into our stories without his corresponding punctuation. It may take a season or two to arrive at the conclusion, but when it comes, we can be sure that it comes in the fullness of a Father’s understanding and with his best intention for our lives. He, alone, can connect the “dots” and have them make sense.
Thus, watch out my tomorrow. I’m walking my “dot, dot, dot” tonight, and I’m bringing Rosewood, NC, with me as I come. You and her will be forever connected because of this pause that resides in my in between… because of this heart that is willing to carry the influence of my yesterday into the seeding of my tomorrow. I’ll see you when I get there; how I pray to live you all the more.
Peace for the journey,
PS: Please forgive my absence from your blogging addresses, friends. I’ve barely had a moment to myself and only squeezed this post in because I desperately missed my “pen” this week. I won’t have Internet connection most of the week, but as soon as I’m up and running again, I’ll be sure to stop by for a visit. Thanks for all of your prayers. We’ve felt them all, especially today. We’ll be pulling out Tuesday morning and would appreciate your continuing thoughts. Shalom.