On my way home tonight I sat next to a homeless man riding the metro line around Budapest. Sometimes homeless people will ride the metro from the beginning of the line to the end because it’s warm and provides a comfortable place to sit. I watched as this man used the window next to him for a pillow and gazed into nowhere. I can’t stop thinking about that guy’s life. He’s not really going anywhere, but he still rides and the tram will take him somewhere.
Tonight I feel like the homeless and aimless metro passenger. It’s been nearly one year since we moved to Hungary and it still doesn’t feel like home. And when it comes to our service here, I’m moving forward but I don’t know where to. I’ve tried my hand in many different areas (I believe working with youth is my best option), but what impact can I really have in two years? I have lots of questions, but that doesn’t seem to slow this tram down.
I use to think my life’s calling was to be a teacher of the Bible. “If only I could teach at a church,” I daydreamed, “then I would be truly content and happy.” After all, I am creative, can tell a funny story, am an effective communicator and I love the Bible. Lately, however, I’ve realized that a few witty jokes, a couple of catchy phrases in a sermon and an enjoyable stage presence isn’t enough. It’s not enough for me or the world I live in.
So what do I do? I can’t help but feel like my well-crafted Bible talks aren’t going to change the world. These little blog posts will, at the most, render a barely-audible, “hmmm, interesting thought.” I also can’t help but wonder if the most important part of my week is spent playing Wii Tennis with a sophomore in high school. I wonder about those seemingly small interactions with students that slowly build a friendship. Isn’t this what it’s about? Sacrificing a little time, and sometimes glory, to waste my life on a high school student who just wants to know he’s loved?
I use to long for a cushy preacher job that provided me a book deal with Zondervan and a popular podcast. I know it’s important to reach a wide audience, especially if one has the gift of communicating God’s love well, but it’s not the end of the line. If I never write a popular Christian book, it doesn’t mean I haven’t “arrived.” We’re all riding this tram and all of us have to exit eventually. I still don’t know exactly where I’m heading, or at which stop I will have to get off, but at least I’m awake and growing aware of the people around me.