I don’t know about y’all, but as an avid reader of historical fiction and a consumer of all things Austen and Victorian I often am overcome by a wish that I could travel back in time.
Reading makes me want to trot across the globe and travel through time to eras gone by. Now, the first wish is probable. Extremely probably actually… that is if I can save my money and not buy every book and chai latte that comes into my line of vision.
However, today I am shackled to studenthood and cannot go anywhere.
I know, I really do, that school is good. That it paves the way for my travel opportunities and broadens my understanding of the world. I love that about school. God truly has blessed me with an amazing place to learn and I’m beyond grateful.
Does anyone else ever feel like they’re trapped under the avalanche of expectations of science and math homework? I feel so stifled and even though I love school, I’m so ready to drop it all and buy the first plane ticket to anywhere that comes my way. I can’t even begin to describe this desire to see and experience the world. I don’t have the right words to vocalize this desperate need.
I wish I had slippers like Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz and could click my heels to go anywhere in any era. And the time travel part of these shoes would be special. They’d allow you to visit an era without ruining history. To experience life without altering it.
Wouldn’t that be fun?
You could sail the seas to the New World, feel the heat of the sun hundreds of years ago on your back. You could breathe the same air the colonists did and watch a revolution give birth to America.
You could think of the frontier and follow a wagon train across the prairie to lands never before seen by the eyes of those you’ve left behind. Mountains, oceans, prairies, valleys, all of it lays before you.
You could click your heels and attend a Victorian ball, dressed in all the regalia of the time.
You could meet Dickens, Bronte, Hugo, Tolstoy, Austen, Washington, Napoleon, the Romanovs, Luther, Bonhoeffer… anyone.
One click could bring you into any book you’ve ever read. Imagine really going to Narnia, actually meeting the Pevansies, the Beavers, Mr. Tumnas, and Aslan.
Or you could enter the world of Anne Shirley and live out your days wistfully imagining wonderful stories on Prince Edward Island.
I think I would like to be Jane Eyre for a day and run across the purple moors of England.
Alas, none of that is to be.
But although we may never be able to really visit these places or meet these people, we can visit them in books. That’s the beauty of the stories. They allow us to transcend time and travel around the world.
Before I end this post, I want to remind you, and myself really, that God places us in the time and place He does for a reason. He knew us before we were born and knows what the measure of our days is. As it says in the book of Esther, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Had Esther not been born in the era of the Persian Empire or become the wife of the king, she would not have been able to deliver the Jews from the great persecution coming their way. God used her in mighty ways to bring about His deliverance. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
In the same way, the Lord uses us for His purposes. We may never understand fully why He places us in certain times and places, but He does. That is knowledge enough.
So yes, I do still wish I could have lived in another era. The burning wanderlust that sings so loudly every waking moment has not left. But perhaps He made me that way for a reason. Perhaps that desire is something He will use. Actually, I know it’s something He will use.
Nothing God does is in vain.
Rest in that truth. The truth of Who He is. Everything else pales in comparison.
One day, if we treasure Him, we will be with Him in paradise and then the glory of every place and time we wanted to visit won’t even compare to a flickering candle.