All the Little Things
When I think back to where I was a year ago, every single thing was completely different. My college plans had completely failed me. I went from having my life organized how I wanted it, to going to a local community college. I was not mad, I tried to look on the bright side of things. But for the most part, I was just faking it. I put on a smile and acted like I was content with life. The reality was hidden behind a mask. I know that so many people have felt this way, and these are probably the feelings that started a blog in the first place.
Fast forward a few months and I sort of still sat in my own sorrows. Finally, I started to set those aside. I began furthering the friendships I did have at home. I got involved in church more. I realized, everything that I did need was right around me.
One of my very close friends that I met at community college encouraged me to apply to go out of the country with her in the summer. We applied to go to Guatemala, knowing absolutely nothing about it. For some reason, this did not scare me as much as I expected it to. So I stepped out of my comfort zone, applied, and assumed whatever would happen was out of my control.
After a few weeks of waiting, we got a response that Guatemala applications were closed but that Uganda was still an option. At this point, I knew nothing about Uganda, I could not point to it on a map and I had no knowledge of Africa in general, other than that some giraffes lived there. My friend still applied so I followed her lead.
Soon enough about a month had passed. Uganda interviews were just around the corner and I did not think I would end up going. After hearing my friend also decided she did not think it would work out for her, I almost crossed it off of my to-do list. The night before the interview, I remember debating if I would cancel. I sat there trying to get out of it, but there was no reason for that other than fear.
So, with a closed heart, I went into the interview expecting to leave with no desire to go on this trip. It was only two weeks anyways, how life changing could it really be? Boy, was I SO wrong. I chatted with the ladies in my interview about how I really felt, about how I was not sure of the safety of the trip, that I had nothing to offer, I had absolutely no knowledge of how involved my church was. But I had never left anywhere KNOWING with my whole heart that I needed to see this place.
I had a complete 180 degree turn around within an hour long interview. I knew with all that I am that if I was chosen for this team, I had to take the opportunity. One thing after another fell into place. I was told that finances would never work out but God did provide. I was told that it would be too dangerous, but I ended up never feeling a lack of safety through the entire trip.
The trip came and went. It changed my life more than I could have imagined. I view life differently because of the things we saw. You can not un-see the surgery ward of a hospital. You can not un-see the smile that shows up on a child's face because they have a visitor. You can not un-hear the songs that children and ladies sing from the bottom of their hearts during worship. This place, changed how I treat others, it changed my definition of love, it changed the community I have at home.
Being home for a few months now, I have some close friends that transformed into family over those two weeks in Africa. I have people who love and encourage me to step out of my own bubble. I was able to leave Africa with a thankful heart.
If you are still reading at this point, the reason I am writing is to let you know that things do get better. For you, it may not look like a trip out of the country to change your life. But the main reason I am writing is because, I now realize, that if one little piece of this story was changed, I would not be the person I am today. If I had not gone to community college, if I had not decided to let my guard down and further friendships, if I had decided to cancel that interview, if I had ended up going with my own plans, if I let my fear and lack of finances control the situation, I would not have the friends I have today, I would not view love and life the way I do today. This story was orchestrated by someone greater. No matter what you believe in, there is a reason, you are where you are today. Never, ever, ever forget that your story matters, where you are matters, and that you are so so dearly loved. There is a plan for your life and a reason that you are in the position you are in today.