Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It is a strange thing - to know intellectually that your life is about to change, to think about it, to write about, to feel it marching nearer; yet to feel as if everything is the same. To sit in an easy chair, or sleep too late and go to bed to early, to eat delicious dinners and leave big tips, to drive away on a whim, to do nothing differently....right before everything is about to change.

I don't know how one mentally prepares for it. this big journey. this place of hardship. I guess some people read books. or memorize maps and customs. or learn languages. or study local handshakes. some people pray, they take long walks, or jog with excellent arch supporting footwear.
but that has never been my way.

I have never been one to prepare. to study every aspect of the situation. To arrive informed. every thing in my life, the good and the useless, i have just jumped in. its a heady brew of folly and staunch belief in myself. I want to be the preparer. The writer of neat lists and calm stacker of manilla folders, but I'm not. I'm chaos. Not the kind of chaos that impedes progress. not a procrastinator either.... but chaos nonetheless.

and maybe i'm not as lackadaisical as I think, or maybe I'm too audacious. but I think this time, i have to jump in. I can't think rationally. I know only that I've always wanted this. always. That I've done hard things to be at this moment. that i have no idea what doing hard things means. I have to go because the alternative would be hell. to bury a dream that is so cherished. nothing could be so choking and insidious as the rational death of the dream that kept you breathing every moment.

and the dream wasn't Chad. not specifically. it started out as wanting to run an orphanage (then i stopped liking children) and turned into wanting to be a social worker perhaps... and then I wanted to do humanitarian work, and then it turned into using nursing, and the dream has been gray, but it has been EVERYTHING. it has been everything to me. my religion even.

And I don't think i have to go to Africa and save someone. I'm painfully aware of how cliche that sounds. But its also not enough for me to be in a comfortable routine.... to do good within that realm. For many, it is what they love. what they are good at. what they SHOULD do. it is their truth. but its not mine. and maybe its selfish and it sure is naive and idealistic, but i believe in the power of one life. Of helping that one person. Of making a difference in that moment.

and I also believe that we will be held accountable for the suffering of our brothers and sisters. In the final reckoning, whatever we concieve that to be, we will charged not only of direct crimes but of the crime of indifference. What does it mean to love your brother or your sister? We live in a global world. people are dying all around us. in this, our civilized world. children are starving in a world that sent man to the moon. people are dying for lack of the most basic medical care that is so hotly debated in the west.

How is that alright? And I want to do something. I want to bring medicine to those who would not have it otherwise. Is this selfish. yes. But I don't know another way to live with myself. And I don't know a better way to learn, to pound and sift and refine all these theories except by going. And I expect to be miserable. and I expect to get sick. And I expect to be jaded. I expect to get Malaria. and worms. But I also expect to find what I have been seeking - the fulfillment of a lifetime of dancing screaming shadowy dreams. And I don't just want to go once. (I say this now.) I want this to be a lifestyle. This is the beginning. This is where I test myself, my theories, my ideals. This is where I stand it all beside reality. Where I strip the wool from my eyes.

I don't just want to go for a year and come back gushing about the dancing children and oh they are poor but they are happy. what swill! and then we stand up in church proclaiming that we are now grateful for what WE have. yet we don't feel guilty about it anymore....because they are happy. you know you've heard everyone say it. Is it enough that some little potbellied kid who could eat for a year on your monthly car payment smiled and did a jig. Does that mean he likes to be hungry? I don't want to come back like that.

I don't know what it is really. But I am not going to teach anyone. I don't plan to enlighten a soul. I plan to learn. I plan to open my heart to suffering and to be taught by it. I plan to be schooled. I know i'm ignorant. I know I have an abundance of flaws and chaff. And I'm going to walk through the fire. Because I want to be better.

maybe this is just an elaborate scenario I have concocted so I can fancy myself at peace on my death bed. is that so wrong if it were true?

If you wait for the right motive, for the right time, for the right place, you will never go.

I'm not going to wait until I'm right with God. I'm not going to wait until I'm in shape. I'm not going to wait until I speak French fluently. I'm not going to wait until I'm ready. I am going to go.

I read a poem once, i don't know the author, and barely remember it...but i do remember this...

"women wait, when they should turn to journeys."

I've been waiting for 5 years.

and I'm going. I'm leaving a stable job. I'm leaving good friends. I am leaving something far dearer also - the love of my life. At my fingertips is marriage. children. a house. a life. a love that would burn until i died. People spend their lives dreaming of what I am throwing away.

and i have never been so terrified. and i have never been so sure.

so i'm going.

No comments:

Post a Comment