Every day, for the past month or so, I’ve been preparing our lives to return to the U.S. My husband and I took photos of the items we purchased last summer and fall and put them online for sale. We looked through stuff we’ve accumulated and clothes that no longer fit and donated them or gave them away. We’ve started packing.
While going through a stack of papers, I came across a large envelop. Inside were pamphlets, maps, and booklets that my husband had picked up over the last few months. Pamphlets about the sights of the city, restaurants, theaters, markets, holidays, and parks. Maps of the city and other parts of Taiwan and what they have to offer. Booklets containing information of biking groups and routes, transportation around the city, and seasonal activities. Holding these in my hands and reading through them, I started to cry. These papers represent so many of the hopes we had for our new life when we first arrived–how we envisioned we would live, the things we would do, places we would go, and the kind of people we would be living here.
And now all those hopes and dreams are gone, vanished into thin air. Already in the past.
I recently remembered this beautiful mashup of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and “Amazing Grace,” both of which speak to me in very different ways. Of the making of the mashup and the video, The Piano Guys say,
When we first heard Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” we were inspired by its message. In a world where we too often talk about our differences, we have at least one thing in common. We all struggle. Not in the same way, nor at the same level, but we all want a fighting chance. And we all share in one gift: The will to make the most of our lives. To take what we’ve been given and turn it into something better could be considered the sentient measuring stick of success. But to do so seldom is simple and more often requires we fight. Not against each other. But against the current threatening to drown the ambition in us.
There is tremendous purpose in struggle. It is when the struggle becomes so fierce that we must fight to swim or sink. John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace,” worked on a slave trader ship and condoned inhuman atrocities. It was when his ship was on the verge of being torn apart in a violent storm when he called out for Grace. When his feet were once again planted on firm soil he determined to change. His covenant was written into these words,
“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
Grace is the defining moment when we face and fight a monster poised to define us or destroy us.
While I don’t really feel I’m truly struggling, I do feel a bit at sea. Just a year ago, we set out with a particular direction in mind, ready to work towards certain goals and realize certain dreams. Now, a year later, we’re again packing up, picking up our lives, and moving. We are once again at a crossroads, with glimmers of different aspirations and visions of a different life, but also disappointed and saddened by dreams unrealized.
I find the mashup not only breathtaking, but inspiring. What The Piano Guys said about the making of this piece of music also touched me deeply. They both fill my soul with beauty and my heart with hope. The message is strong and determined, yet gentle and encouraging. Listening to the song makes me feel powerful and fierce. It fills me with resolve to persevere and to make the most of what I’ve got–which is a lot– and whatever may come my way.
[Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash]