Country (A Poem)

Excerpt from Laina Faul’s personal blog “Thoughts From Laina.”  Laina is a Spring 2016 ASC student from Belhaven University. Reproduced with permission.

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Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park – Northern Territory – Australia – Photo by Nosha

This semester I have the privilege of learning about Australian Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islander People. This poem comes from a place of learning as I try to process some of the things we have been discussing about these people groups’ world views. Specifically, this poem is about the idea of Country. Country is not just a land where people live; it is itself alive. This is by no means a full understanding. It is simply my response and attempt to process new concepts.

Country (working title)

I am the Land you see
and don’t see
the Land beneath your feet.
I am Sea
I am Sky
and everything between.
I am Father
Mother
Sister
Brother
I am the root of your tree.
All that is behind,
what you see in your Dreams,
that is me.
All that is lost,
forgotten by time,
that is my memory.
I am no spirit or idea
no man and no god.
I am the Land, the Sea, the Sky
and everything between.

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Life in Brisbane

Excerpt from Shannon Nace’s personal blog “Just Say Yes.”  Shannon is a Spring 2016 ASC student from Messiah College. Reproduced with permission.

The people: are lovely. They are caring, sarcastic, laid back and all around fun to be spend time with. People are out and about and seem to really love life here. It’s refreshing to be able to meet people with so many different stories and backgrounds than what I’m used to. They’re also very relaxed with their word, which just makes the conversations more humorous.

My host family: is great. They’re kind, funny, adventurous and great cooks. Their generosity has made this transition much easier.

The city: is incredible. Clean, scenic, and lively. It’s definitely one of the prettiest cities I’ve been to.

The weather: HOT but beautiful. It’s been sunny and in the 90’s since I arrived. I’ve been able to swim at the beach or pool every day since getting here and it never gets old, at least not yet. The beaches are warm and sunny

The time difference: is difficult. I’ve been waking up around 7 every morning without an alarm and ready for bed around 9:30 each night. Hopefully the jetlag wears off soon… or maybe I’m just getting old. It’s also been difficult trying to catch up with family and friends back home. I wake up to dozens of messages each morning because it’s the middle of the afternoon back home! But don’t worry, keep sending those messages because I love hearing from everyone.

Lessons in Brisbane:

As life starts to settle down here in Brisbane, there are so many thoughts running through my mind. Between learning public transport, CHC orientation, lounging at the beach, moving into my host home, preparing for my first day of school and settling into life here, there has been non-stop excitement. But, I’m definitely not complaining.

In the midst of all the newness, I got wrapped up in one thing after another and I’m finally just sitting down to decompress and think.

The more I think about it, the more God’s timing amazes me. Since I became a Christian, I was always taught that God’s timing is divine and that he has had my life planned out since before my life was created. What a weird concept at the time. As I travel and begin life as an adult, the more I realize that is incredibly true and that my life is not my own. It’s His. And His timing is unfathomable. When I first arrived in Brisbane, I read through this verse because it kept coming back to my mind. I want to think of this experience as a season of my life. A season of growth and abundance and glory to Him, to uproot myself, plant and replant myself as many places and as often as possible.

In reading through Ecclesiastes 3, I was struck by these verses:

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work, which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Fast forward three days to Thursday morning, We had our first chapel as CHC students and the pastor spoke truth and light that tied in closely with these ideas. Maybe I’m the only one and this is just a reminder to the rest of you but regardless, this reminder should never grow old. The pastor spoke on how when Jesus was dying on the cross, we are the joy that was set before him. In knowing that his death would be purposeful and lead to an eternity in heaven with each of us, Jesus was joyful. He saw our face, while on the cross, and remained joyful because we are that joy and he was joyful in knowing that we get to spend an eternity with him in heaven. What a gift.

So we question, what greater gift is there? I would argue, time and the seasons of our lives. We are given opportunities time and time again. God’s divine timing tells us that He wants us to go out and roam, seek and glorify Him in each season and see what he has prepared in advance for us to do. He wants us to plant roots and uproot ourselves. He wants us to become members of communities and make a difference so that when it is time to uproot ourselves, it hurts. Our ASC leaders have reminded us of this time and time again; to use this time wisely. But I think this extends into every area of our lives, not just my current season. And I think it applies to your life too. That means that you have impacted and been impacted wherever your roots have been planted.

Please take this as a reminder to plant your roots in the community around you. We aren’t here for very long but we can use our time wisely and find ways to glorify Him in every season of our lives, in both the good and the bad. This reminder is something I greatly needed as I embark on this newest season, which is sure to be filled with ups and downs. I pray that you are reminded of the joy that Jesus has in knowing you and the eternity that is to come. I pray that you are filled with that same joy each day and find ways to glorify Him in all things in every season of your lives.