In the midst of transition I often find it encouraging to look back and reflect on my thoughts and feelings from the last few years. I have kept a journal on and off for most of my life because I find writing my thoughts down therapeutic. But I also really enjoy re-reading my thoughts years later and remembering what it felt like in that moment and learning. Today, I came across something I wrote while visiting some really great friends before we left for Kenya just over a year ago. Its a pretty raw and honest journal entry, so I’m nervous to post it, but I find it necessary to do things that scare me. Could be a sickness I have, but here goes, my thoughts from August 25, 2011.
August 25, 2012 - I went for a walk tonight because I was feeling stir crazy. I get that feeling quite often and feel like I either need to go for a walk and pray or sit and read my Bible. I feel like I’m searching for calm in during this transition. I’ve talked about moving to Africa for years now. I dream about it and long to do something useful with my life. I want to know that my choices in life made a difference for someone. If I’m totally honest I would like to my life choices to make a large difference in a lot of people’s lives. When people hear what Kris and I are planning to do, I’m often met with comments like “wow that’s so great, you are going to do amazing things.” Or “You are so brave and selfless to go and give of your time.” I don’t know how to respond to most, do I agree with them? Yes, it is great that I’m going and I’m a saint for giving my time and talent to those who have nothing. That feels horrible and not what I feel in my heart at all. Some days I am so pumped to go that I can agree and not feel like I’m getting a pat on the back for my good deeds but be genuine about the work that I am going to be apart of. I can really get excited about clean water and basic health care. But then there are most days, like today where I feel fear and uncertainty and worry about the future and if I’ll feel the calm I’m looking for. This is why I walk. This is why I feel like I need to put one foot in front of the other, because I know that moving forward in the only way for me. Even if I’m scared and feel all the fears and pressures of moving from family and friends, and an independence that I’m really really fond of.
I walk to reconcile the urgency I feel to move across the world to a place I’ve never been, to people I don’t know and can’t speak their language to help in anyway I can. To reconcile the feeling of loss I have for the comforts, relationships, certainties, and stability I have here. All the things I have here make life so easy and comfortable, and boring and claustrophobic. Here, the culture is to settle down, buy houses, have children, buy and sell cars, get jobs, move up the ladder. As I write those things I feel sick inside. But I have never wanted that. I have always felt there was more out there for me. So moving to Africa seems like the next step right? It’s not quite that easy to explain, but this next step in life has to be an adventure, it has to include the elements of life that I am truly passionate about. I need to feel like what I’m doing is for the bigger picture. And yet I’m walking tonight because I am afraid.
I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that when we go to Kenya that I will discover that I’m not content doing development work, which is what I’ve gone to school for and focused the last 7 years of my life on doing. I’m afraid that I’ve pushed my husband to move across the world to a place where he will literally melt in the heat to do work that he may only be interested in because of me. I’m afraid for the strain that this move will put on my marriage. I’m afraid I won’t have anything to give to my husband after serving those who have nothing. I’m afraid of letting my passion for clean water and health care will dominate my life and my husband will feel second place in my heart. I’m afraid that he will be second place in my heart. I’m afraid of hurting him. I’m afraid of finding that this goal and passion is not what will be my life’s work and starting from square one again. I’m afraid of that feeling lost in life and not knowing what direction to head in. The fear in this transition is almost debilitating, and yet I can’t even imagine not going. I can’t even think about the “what ifs” of staying here. So I walk, one foot in front of the other. Moving closer and closer to stepping onto the plane that will take Kris and I to Kenya.
I feel lonely in this place. I’m lost in my thoughts about the future and my fears. I wrestle with the idea that I can’t give enough love. It seems silly once it’s written down but in my heart I feel like I could be the type of person that is not able to freely give love. I know that because I marvel and can’t seem to wrap my mind around the idea that God has so freely loved and keeps loving me, while truly knowing who I am and what I am capable of doing. It doesn’t make sense to me. And yet I want nothing more than to love like God loves. How does that happen? I long for that change in me. And my biggest fear is that I don’t have a large enough capacity to love those I am passionate to serve.