I am in a very reflective mood today. A lot of things have played a role in bringing me to where I am: the weather, recent conversations, hearing from long-lost friends unexpectedly (and joyfully!).
There are a lot of things running through my mind. Things that are a part of me that I'm not sure any one person could ever fully understand. It reminds me of the pros and cons of being a traveler. That with every new place I visit, every new person I meet, they get to know a new part of me. Then as the day comes and I have to leave, a part of me is left behind. Only to be reclaimed in part if and when I return there. It is a wonderful gift to have been able to share so much of myself with the world as it also shares itself with me. Yet it is also hard.
Its hard because it also means that as I have experienced so much in so many different places with so many different people, I have also left pieces of myself that are not meant to be reclaimed. Pieces that I really miss. Pieces that even those I have shared my entire life with cannot understand. It means that no one knows me inside and out like my own family used to, like I thought my friends did in high school....
Some of- no- THE best times of my life have been spent abroad. Today, I am thinking of my time in Australia. This week marks three years since we first left. Since I first met that random group of girls in the airport in LA and discovered we were all going to the same study abroad program. Since I made some of the best friends a girl could ever hope for, had some of the most exciting and life-giving experiences I could ever ask for, was given insight to my future in ways I never anticipated. It was in Australia that began the journey of more fully realizing the vocational importance of international missions and community development. While there I developed the practice of keeping Sabbath for the first time, and from that discovered my own call to go to seminary and spend my life in ministry. I studied, I traveled, I volunteered... I loved, I hurt, I played... I cried and laughed and loved and... more than I ever had before or ever have since (with the exception of maybe South Africa) ... I LIVED.
I am reminded of my blessed life I lived there today. For today, I was able to finally catch up with one of those friends who helped me to live so fully while we journeyed to the other side of the world. No doubt, it was just as intense and life-changing for her, and as such, we were able to live, grow, laugh and cry together. And today, we have our friendship, and even though we live over a thousand miles apart, the simple sound of her voice or a thoughtful 2-line email puts this part of me at ease.
Today, we shared in memories lost and gone and distant, yet vivid and real with intense feelings still attached. And today, she reminds me of the power of words. That we should tell one another how and when we are encouraged by one another. That we care. That we are thankful for our friendship. Why wait until tragedy strikes, until someone leaves or is lost? We must live now. "Life is now." We must live today, not waiting for a, b, c to happen so we can do x, y, z. You're right, Rosie. Life is now. It begins today. Even through our frustration, confusion or anxiety of what the future holds, the reality is, what happens today could change that. So live for it. Don't forget to live today fully- don't forget that if you don't, tomorrow may never happen.
Life is now. That first day we met in LA, we had no idea what we were in store for, how life changing the next 5 months would be. The same could be true of today- of this semester. Maybe the next 5 months will be the best of my life- we'll never know unless we live them. So while I am heart-broken with missing friends, places, and opportunities of far-off places, I am also thankful for them. I look forward to what this new year will bring.
Thank you, Rosie, for being such an inspiration and a great reminder of all that life is- and can be.