This vehicle, typical of Cambodia, depicts my mind perfectly. O. V. E. R. L. O. A. D. E. D.
Eight weeks ago I left for an extraordinary trip. Been home for six. I am still at a loss of words for everything I want to share. Clearly, I wasn’t able to post like I thought I would during the trip. Not because I wasn’t able to, but there was so much living to do in the moment, I felt like my heart and my mind were swollen with imploding thoughts and feelings while my body experienced an onslaught of new scents, sights, dialects, and tastes. Multiple times a day I caught myself thinking “I can’t process this at the pace I’m experiencing it,” especially during my time in Cambodia. Thus, it’s taken me this long to even attempt to blog.
Here’s what I’ve decided. So much has rocked my thinking and subsequent way of living because of what I experienced. Every day was filled with countless stories, but you and I don’t have the patience to have them told here. So, I’m going to summarize the biggies in four lists: 15 things I learned about myself, 10 things I want you to know, 5 things that have changed the way I live, and 10 things I’ll never forget. I’ll break up the post over a couple days as an act of kindness for those who prefer posts in smaller doses. I’ll share a bunch of pictures to bring some context to it all along the way too.
15 Things I Learned about Myself
- I expected to feel more connected to God than I did.
- I was more comfortable, adaptive, excited, adventurous, and even extroverted than I expected to be.
- I am wired to travel, even (especially?) by myself. Dish me up a long flight with an even longer layover? Sure, I’ll have another. Don’t know the language, how to cross the street without getting run over, what to eat, where to sleep, how to pack a suitcase under 40 lbs while stuffing the 25 lb. excess into my already full backpack and carry it to look like it weighs a mere 7 lbs. through airport security? No problem. I’ll figure it out.
- I felt more alive than I have in years! Although my days were full, I never felt taxed. The times of my working felt effortless.
- I felt a deep sense of connection and pride with my Fuller roots. The world is small and large all at the same time.
- I found myself envious of the interior missionary women’s unhurried, non-panicked, flexible way they do everyday life. We’re talking every meal and every physical structure made from scratch.
- I connected with certain parts of their way of living. Simple. Introvert friendly. Faith and family intertwined naturally, daily. Minimal distractions of the outside world. Space. Time. Deep conversations. More questions than answers. Utter reliance on God’s provision for safety, health, work success, etc.
- I have a weak stomach but a strong temper against evil in this world.
- I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE counseling, teaching, and serving those doing hard-core work for Jesus.
- I can take off and land 18 times in 13 days in six countries (mostly on unpaved runways on sides of mountains) and not get tired or anxious about any of it.
- I can sleep with sugar ants crawling over me throughout the night and be okay with that too.
- I have no real purpose, contentment or joy if I’m not living for something bigger and greater than myself. If I ever get confused about what I’m supposed to be doing in life, one thing is OBVIOUS: Fight evil. Protect good. (There goes John 10:10 again.)
- I don’t do so well transitioning from big experiences back to the mundane. I cry a lot.
- I could do it all over again tomorrow.
- I have so much to learn.