I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind...
(Francis Thomson, ‘The Hound of Heaven’)
I am Heidi, I am 26 years old and I am a wimp. Or at least, a whiner at heart. Like Jonah who ran from God, who dramatically exclaimed, “just let me die!” when his mission did not go as envisioned, who deserted Nineveh and ran — again! — into the desert, found shade under a plant, and then proceeded to sulk petulantly at God when the plant died. I am like that; running, fearful, resentful, and attached to my own ways and comfort.
I am from Singapore, a little country in Asia. In world rankings, it is a) one of the most wired countries, b) amongst the wealthiest, c) with the fastest walkers and...c) with the most unemotional and unhappy people. It is not a criticism of my beloved country, rather, a reflection that amidst the frenzy and distractions of this world, the human heart hungers for something beyond the fulfilment of material wants. Here, I am comfortable working in the social services, teaching catechism during the weekends, and volunteering for the occasional cause. Like the rich man in the temple, I had been content to merely give out of my abundance, be it time, money or love, but God wanted more, down to the two mites I have been withholding - my attachments and my self. He led me to Heart’s Home, where as missionaries, we are called to walk in a spirit of self-detachment and self-giving.
Francis (the poet, not the pope), Jonah and I, we have something in common. God has acted as the patient pursuer, as reluctant as we were, as unworthy as we are. We had to wrestle with the world and our wants, finally making a choice; to follow or not. Even in following, there are battles yet. Perhaps dear reader, you identify with my struggles and want to accompany me through them. If so, I humbly ask you to embark on this journey with me, as I carry out the mission in Sendai, Japan, a place devastated by the 2011 Tsunami, yet whose people, their spirits undefeated, forge on bravely in rebuilding efforts.
Together, we will be the pursuers now, seeking God amongst His people. I cannot wait for our journey to start, for the friends that we will make, and for the Love that patiently awaits.
’Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
’Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’