Essays by Timothy Lim

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A Journey To Western Norway

3rd September 2022

Uncle Dain had this story about Norway. You knew it was coming when he wrapped his arm around your shoulder, and his gaze disappeared into the distance.

"God's country, Tim. It really is God's country."

Well, Uncle Dain, I'm here, and I think I know what you mean now.

I remember you marveling at the sea, and your friend saying, "That's not the sea, Dain! That's a lake."

I'm at something in between because, although the water in the fjord tastes fresh from the glaciers and the streams, it also is where the Atlantic Ocean reaches into the heart of the country. Her long blue fingers seek the ends of all the valleys, and her lonesome wind grazes the tips of all the mountains.

You might recall that Josie and I were roommates in Northern Norway. She's been asking me to visit her for many years now, and we've finally made it. It's been like a homecoming. Sogndal reminds me a lot of the North with its dramatic and muscular landscapes, but while Tromsø felt hostile, Sogndal feels inviting.

There was a warmth in the land that I've never felt before, at least not in the mountains. It felt like we could stay out here forever. We actually took a nap on a hike, basking in the light and the view. The atheist within me bowed down in prayer because something, some otherworldly being, made this.

When Josie and I met, we were both going through a rough time. I feel like our friendship carried us out of that darkness to where we are now. While we haven't spent that much time together since, the knowledge of each other, that we're out there, continuing on our journeys, has made all the difference.

I sense a newness here. A newness like a flower growing from a fallen tree. A new life coming out of an older one. Josie still has the cabinet that we had in our living room. I smile every time I see it, for it has been a witness and a companion across our dimensions. And here it sits, in the shadow of striking yet familiar mountains. I see a home and a life my friend has built for herself, composed of the pieces that came before, no matter how fragmented they seemed to be.

Knowing that I had played a small part in this made me think of all the people who have played a part in my life. We're carried by those who cared for us and who have seen us in our weakest moments. Those who lifted our chins and told us of places beyond our imagination. They're never far away. For those that have carried us, we always carry within us.

As we go forward, let us shed regret because as long as we're alive, we can move, and as long as we can move, we can get to a place, even if it takes a while. Young Josie brought her here. And young Tim, whatever he was thinking, brought me here.

This trip has shown me God's country, Uncle Dain. In fact, now I see it everywhere, every day. I see it all the time because I believe that God's country is the future. It's the future we have the privilege to continually step into.


  • This essay was originally a script for a Youtube video. Feel free to watch it here. It's one of my favourites I've made so far.