I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be a more integrated person. The temptation for me is to feel divided in myself between London and Cape Town, to feel I have two lives, two worlds that don’t relate and that I have to choose between. That I have cut off one in order to fully engage with the other. I found that during my visit to London, I spent much of the time feeling disconnected, an outsider, a fake.
But during the same visit a wise friend challenged me. She said I don’t have to feel divided, that I am one person in both places, with one fluid life between the places: one person, who happens to have friends, family and loved ones in different continents. I can be fully me in both places.
I feel that my heart and the journey of my spiritual and emotional life, is being held and directed by God. In the book of Proverbs in the Bible, there is beautiful imagery to describe this, my “heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1). A dear friend shared this verse with me the day I arrived back in Cape Town and I felt it fitted so amazingly with what I had been thinking and feeling. I know that through all this God has my heart safe and is guiding me and helping me to grow. The journey is a continuous flow in both places.
Inevitably when you move countries there are some things and relationships that are lost or distanced and there is certainly a genuine grief and loss that I need to acknowledge in the ‘leaving and cleaving’. And yet, I am glad that there are special friendships that I carry with me: sponsored by the magic of Skype. My heart’s journey and myself as a person has to be integrated: my character consistent and my journey continuous, in both places.
“You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world, but a world lives in you.”
+ F. Buechner, Telling the Truth