Devotion #2: Exile

In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America. It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that I’d been compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen…. It was to Forks that I now exiled myself—an action that I took with great horror. I detested Forks.

I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved the vigorous, sprawling city.

“Bella,” my mom said to me—the last of a thousand times—before I got on the plane. “You don’t have to do this.”…

I felt a spasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, hare-brained mother to fend for herself? Of course she had Phil now, so the bills would probably get paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she got lost, but still…

“I want to go,” I lied. I’d always been a bad liar, but I’d been saying this lie so frequently lately that it sounded almost convincing now.

“Tell Charlie I said hi.”…

“I’ll see you soon,” she insisted. “You can come home whenever you want—I’ll come right back as soon as you need me.”

But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise.

“Don’t worry about me,” I urged. “It’ll be great. I love you, Mom.”

Twilight – Chapter 1

Sometimes we take on more than we were meant to bear. Bella absorbed the role of parent in her relationship with her mother, Renee. Without interference, this unhealthy relationship would have gone on indefinitely. But instead, Phil, Renee’s new husband, enters the picture. The fact emerges that he must travel for his job, and if Bella stayed at home, her mother would have been unable to travel with him. Bella chooses to leave. Again, Bella has always been placed in the position to have to make the hard decisions for her mother. Bella is the one to sacrifice.

While this choice to leave her much-loved home, and irresponsible mother follows the same pattern of martyrdom, this event is different. While the separation is painful, it is necessary. Bella has no idea that this single decision will change her entire life path.

Sometimes the changes we make with dread and trepidation are the best changes we could ever make. At this point in her life, Bella detests Forks. The contrast between sunny Phoenix and rainy Forks is such a picture of entering a time of trials and tribulations. It’s perfectly reasonable for a person not to want to go through them; unlike Edward, we’re not all masochists.

Whether your perceived exile is physical or spiritual, the thing to remember is your steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). When we are pushed into a corner and forced to make an unpleasant decision, even if it feels as though our entire world is ending, it helps to know that we can be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Sometimes, it’s exactly what we need to reach our destiny.

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~ by sarahthebaker on November 14, 2009.

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