It’s amazing how disorienting life can be. I write from the seating area of a cafe in Dublin International, enjoying the welcome presence of two other customers in an otherwise vacant corridor. I spent last night here at the airport – it’s a virtual deadzone and was one of the more bizarre quiets I’ve ever experienced. Chatting with the security guards and personnel has revealed just how strange it’s felt for everyone to work in a place now hollow that is normally packed with an everpresent tide of travelers and bustle.
I’m disoriented not just by the world’s altered state as I attempt to travel internationally during a world pandemic but by the events that have unfolded in my life over the past two weeks. My last several months in Belfast have been lived in anticipation of receiving a longer-term visa to stay in the UK for the next two years, a process that seemed by all indications would prove fairly certain and straightforward. However, the application I anticipated would proceed without an issue was rejected two weeks ago today. The moments from opening that unwelcome email two Tuesday mornings ago until now have been frought with confusion, legal council, phone conversations, reading long sections of government guidance, poring over documentation, and attempting to make sense of what has become an incredibly nuanced and complicated situation. It has not been an easy two weeks.
Long story and legal jargon aside, what has seemed to surface as the most strategic option is to re-submit the application from outside the country to mitigate the risk of committing serious immigration violations. Thus, I exited the UK yesterday in an hours-notice decision and am flying back to Chicago this morning to try and honor the thick tangle of rules and requirements that surround my situation and any hope of being able to return to the UK.
It has been a tough and raw week. Only in times when things go much differently than anticipated does a heart realise what dreams it held most tightly. In a matter of days, my future was once again cast into complete uncertainty. My dreams of living in Belfast, remaining a part of the communities and relationships there that I hold incredibly dear, and working from within the UK on the fledgling company I so recently made my full-time endeavor are all hanging by a minuscule thread. At this juncture I hold but a sliver of hope that the things I thought were going to happen are going to happen and the promises I thought I heard from God will look the way I thought He meant. It’s proving a painful place to be.
And yet I believe in the external hand that guides. I believe that His story is better than the one I could have written for myself. I believe that one day I will catch a glimpse of the forethought behind this saga.
I’d love your prayers if you think of it – for wisdom, grace and humanity from government officials considering my application, and for provision for a lot of looming needs that feel insurmountable. God is good and I’m confident that one day I’ll be able to share an incredible resolution. In the interim, I’m waiting and watching and moving forward one tiny shuffle at a time. The lamplight is casting but a very nearsighted glow at the moment.