It can be hard to go home. If you live away from your hometown and visit somewhat regularly, you know what I mean. There’s always a barrage of friends, family, and activities vying for your attention and time. It can be challenging to choose what to do and what to pass on and can often lead to tension, awkwardness, and hurt feelings if not managed well. While it can be stressful, there can also be great beauty in going home.
I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks in Charleston, SC that I worked at for about a year while living here. I have been to this Starbucks every day since coming to town about a week ago. Each time I come in, I see someone I know. Whether another barista I used to work with, a regular customer that still sees this store as “home,” or some other friend or acquaintance who happens to be passing through to grab a cup. Each time it starts out the same way. “How are things going out there?” From there, small talk ensues and we connect for a moment before going our separate ways and heading back to the day to day. A few of these conversations have been different though. They have gone beyond the small talk and explored a deeper connection where the person I am chatting with recalls a moment in which I was involved that greatly impacted their lives. I have to say, I have never had so many of those conversations in such a concentrated period of time. I have bumped into people that I haven’t seen in years that recount moments that I saw as cursory as formative moments in their lives or faith. It has been a great reminder that while we may not always be there to reap the harvest, if we faithfully pursue God’s call on our life, we will always bear fruit.
It can be easy to get discouraged and wonder if what we do matters. I regularly ask myself, often from a place of discouragement, if what I am doing is making a difference. Is my life bearing fruit? This week has reminded me that just like physical fruit, spiritual fruit takes time to pierce through the surface and be seen. Looking back and seeing the ways that God has used my story in the lives of others has been one of the most encouraging things I have encountered in recent memory. So today, be encouraged. Your life matters. If you are faithfully pursuing what God has called you to, you are making a difference. And when the doubt creeps in and discouragement sets up camp in your mind, take a long trip down memory lane and find the fruit that’s been growing there all along.