Sojourning

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

(Psalm 39:12 KJV)

I know people who have lived for generations in the same community, my own family included. My ancestors walked across the mountains from North Carolina into what is now Tennessee when North Carolina reached from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.

Since I was born, however, I have lived in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Tennessee (again), and North Carolina. My daughters are both “foreigners”: Jordan was born in West Virginia, and Eden in New Jersey.

There is merit in living for generations in one place. There is a rootedness there, a sense of history of one’s people.

There is also a true blessing in sojourning. One learns new places, new people, new ways, and new understandings by moving around.

Sojourning is different from wandering, however. Sojourning has purpose; wandering implies lack of direction.

There are, however, other, different ways of sojourning.

I am a reader. Through my books, I have traveled to places I have never seen: Finland, Australia, South Africa.

I always learn something. People who live in different places have different speech patterns, eat different foods, worship in different ways, and celebrate holidays in the manner of their forebears.

So, while it is nice to have roots, it is also fun to learn new ways, new sayings (as opposed to East Tennessee’s “Old Edwards Sayings”), new foods (Yum!), new traditions, and most of all to find new friends.

My advice is this: Get moving, go somewhere you haven’t been, look around, listen to the natives, and learn something you didn’t know!

It will expand your world forever. Get going!

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