I'm baaack :) As of right now, I'm sitting at the Coffee Shop wanting to unload and kick this blog post off, but I feel mentally paralyzed. How ever do I put into words that which my heart has experienced in the last 15 days? This is a daunting task, but I must persevere. So here is my honest attempt.
My plan is this: everyday for the next 15 days, I will post about one of my days traveling to or being in Africa. Are you ready for this?
Friday May 14th ~ Travel Day.
(My entire team prior to leaving for the airport -- left to right: Chris, Kelly, Jeff, Me, Steve and JP. Kelsey joined us in Malawi)
In the weeks leading up to the 14th of May, a lot was plaguing my heart and mind. Aside from the obvious anticipation, I felt like something was off in my life. Something was different, something was lacking. I sought out solitude and didn't find the antidote. I tried prayer, lots of prayer, and still my spirit was uneasy. Worship songs became background noise and conversations were difficult. Something was off. Looking back on it now, I know that it was the stirring of my soul that God would later calm with His presence. I'm jumping the gun right now... just know that while driving to the church on this particular Friday, I had recognized that something inside of me wasn't right and I was questioning whether or not I would be effective on this trip.
(I was really excited for my mini can of Ginger Ale and woo hoo for anti-malaria pills!)
Our flight wasn't schedule to leave until 7pm on that particular Friday, so I met up with the gang at Mission Community Church around 3. We loaded all of the bags (17 total) into our Suburban and a truck and after a time of prayer, we headed for the airport. Once at the airport, we said our goodbyes, checked our bags and passed through security. After dinner and the realization that I had left my Bible in my closet at home (talk about tragic), we boarded our flight for London. 10 hours, two meals and one movie later, we had arrived at London Heathrow. We had 4 hours to kill here, before boarding the flight to South Africa, so naturally I took full advantage of the public benches and enjoyed a cat nap. Until this point, I had never realized how wonderful it feels to lie horizontally, until I had been deprived of such behavior for 10 hours, in the Economy class on British Airways.
(I happened to think the that signs for the Lou were adorable in London!)
We then boarded the flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, and let's just say I don't remember that flight much... I was dozing in and out of consciousness the entire time! We began our decent into Jo-burg right around 7 am -- prime sunrise time. Talk about amazing. The sun lite up orange and we had the privilege of watching it rise from about the cloud line.It was stunning. By this time, it was Sunday morning (Africa time) and late Saturday night (Arizona time). We then landed and piddled away another 4 hours before venturing onto our final leg of the journey.
(This was the welcoming sign in the Johannesburg airport. FIFA World Cup is South Africa this year and is right around the corner, so naturally, I had to get my picture in front of the tourist stop!)
24 hours of traveling passed quickly with anticipation, and the excitement in our group was so thick that you could cut it with a knife! I felt like I was going to burp up a butterfly, my stomach was so infiltrated with them! So there you have it, a rather unremarkable, entire day of traveling! Stay tuned tomorrow for when the fun begins :)
Sunday, May 9, 2010
"I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and you discussed my hunger. Thank you.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel in the cellar to pray for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy; so close to God.
But I’m still very hungry and lonely and cold.
So where have your prayers gone? What have they done? What does it profit a man to page
through his book of prayers when the rest of the world is crying for help?"
May actions accompany my prayers. May my prayers not be hollow petitions, but may they be active. May they have feet. May I stop talking and start doing. May I serve the least of these, the prodigals, the ones you wish to know in an intimate way. May I be your hands and may my hands get dirty, filthy in the process. May my life, my actions -- not just my prayers, reflect You.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I was 30 minutes short of spending 12 hours with this kid. Meet Evan, hilarious, of course, a fighter, always. After taking my last final yesterday (*praise* I totally pulled a B in that class ~ I'm still not sure how!), I picked Evan up for a fun filled day! Evan is duking it out with cancer right now, and is scheduled to have a Stem Cell Transplant on the 18th -- a year's worth of chemo in 8 days! Join me in covering his life in prayer? Evan so kindly took me to lunch at Rosa's and I got the cheese crisp -- just like I did when I was a kid. We then migrated over to the Farrell's house, and played with ponies for a few hours. I love animals. Cody (the brown pony) even participated in a photo shoot with me -- I've included my fav :) From there, I introduced him to the goats (he was less than thrilled about their hollow eyes and poop smeared noses haha) and finally to my horses! We then hit up Poly and met up with Jazzy, I like her a lot. After almost car painting on the wrong car, we then headed to Liberty Market for dinner with Kevin and Dad, and finally to Ember (college group). It was an eventful night and ended with me making a 5 lane U-turn (man I've never laughed so hard), and crashing a man date at Klint's house. What was supposed to be dropping Evan off turned into staying, eating fruit snacks and playing a super fun ~ slightly embarrassing game!
As of late, I've been thinking a lot about relationships. 2 weeks ago, I asked Jasmine if she thought that she could ever really know somebody -- completely, wholly. She said yes. My friend Jake told me on Saturday, that every time we leave, after hanging out, he realizes that I leave knowing more about him, and he leaves knowing nothing more about me. Evan and I had the same conversation yesterday. It's funny how you can know so many detailed stories about a person, but walk away not knowing the true person. Admittedly, I would be guilty of such accusations. I might also be of the mindset that I can never fully know someone... but then I think about relationships that I've had with various people in my life, and I recall times of honesty and vulnerability and think that maybe I'm wrong. Why do I build up a wall? Likely out of fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of not being radically accepted. Fear pretty much just sums it up. It sounds so silly typing, but it's my reality nevertheless.
What I am going to do about this you might ask? Self disclosure. It's frowned upon in nursing, but I'm thinking that it might help me move past my comfort zone and expose myself to people. I suppose that hurting is part of loving. I think it would be better to love fearlessly than to be alone and untouched. I am far from perfection, but that isn't really my goal. My goal is to love like Jesus, and I'm pretty sure that His love was whole, pure and vulnerable. Such are the thoughts that have been going through my head as of late. <3 Kel
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Yesterday was interesting. I found 26 cents in the parking lot as I was leaving an AA meeting. That's 1/10 of the way to a green tea at The Coffee Shop. Like I said, interesting. I've had a copious amount of thoughts buzzing through my head as of late, and I'm not sure what to do about it. So naturally, I'm blogging.
Over the past few weeks, I've heard sad stories. Stories of neglect, abuse, abandonment and just plain sorrow. These stories have come from loved ones, friends, classmates, coworkers, patients and the like. These stories have made me wonder about happiness. Maybe "The pursuit of happiness" isn't what it's all about. Maybe, that motto, that most Americans strive to flesh out in daily life, just leads to greater discontentment. Maybe life isn't supposed to be happy. Maybe, just maybe, life is tragic with a few happy moments peppered in.
While I was rollerblading yesterday, I was thinking about the notion of weeping. In Joel, the Lord declares "Yet even now, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts... Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love."
If indeed we are to endear ourselves to the heart of God with tears, hunger pains and sorrow, why do we still pursue happiness? Happiness is but fleeting, but the joy of God is everlasting. I'm pretty sure this blog is confusing, but I'm starting to think that maybe my focus in life is off. Not saying that being happy is a bad thing, but perhaps that should not be the focus of my pursuits. Maybe, being broken is where it's really at. I'm still thinking.