My time here in Istanbul is drawing to a close. While the realities of being away from home for two months are beginning to sink in, I have been anticipating my impending departure with a heavy heart. I feel as though I have just begun to find my place here in Istanbul and it is time to leave.
In many ways my summer has been similar to the hit international film Once. Basically the entire movie [spoiler alert] boils down to the chance interactions between two individuals who meet on the streets of Dublin, write a bunch of songs together, then go their separate ways- somehow finding meaning in their short time together. In the same way, God has brought a wide variety of interesting people across my path this summer, many of whom I have only met with once or twice. Just this evening I helped an elderly Italian man find his way on the Metro. For around thirty minutes I heard some of his story and I got to share some of mine. Yesterday I said goodbye to Ercan and Hakar, two Turks who I have really enjoyed hanging out with at the Derneck. On the Tramvay, I have explained that I am neither Russian or German too many times to count over the course of the summer.
As someone who deeply values his close friendship, an entire summer of such fragmented social encounters has been challenging for me. However, as a Christian, I firmly believe in the sovereignty of God, i.e. that God orchestrates and directs all things. From my perspective, my summer may have been little more that a random series of chance interactions with strangers, but in reality, I will never know the full effect that each encounter had.