July 2, 2008

two years ago i ended my year at the inn and i flew to skagway, alaska for the summer. i had signed up for alaska partly because a friend had convinced me, but mostly because i wanted the hell out of my life. i was tired of hurting, tired of regretting, tired of being me. i wanted to be somewhere where few knew me. i wanted to be somewhere that didn’t consantly remind me of the mistakes i had made. i wanted to be away from sadness. i wanted to skip out on the broken mess my life seemed to be. however, when the time came to actually get on the plane i freaked out. i didn’t want to go. i didn’t want to meet anyone new. i dreaded it with every fiber of my being. i was suddenly scared and felt very, very alone. i thought up millions of reasons why it was a bad idea. i wanted to quit before i had even ever left. but i went. i told myself i could always come home [and sort of expected i would], but i went. and something beautiful happened. i had still made mistakes. and i still knew about them. i was still sad, broken, alone, and hurt up there. but during those short ten weeks, from the puddle of shit i was sitting in, i saw redemption. God met me there in a way i had never experienced. surrounded by those snow-capped mountains and majestic glaciers, i breathed new air. i met new people who asked into my life, and slowly [so slowly] i learned to trust…and eventually i found rest in their company. riding my bike down the main street of town, with a six pack of beer under my arm, i felt the freedom of a child. driving up the hills to jump in an ice cold lake with a group of friends stirred in me a playfulness i had long-ago forgotten. sleeping outside under the stars i found quiet that comforted rather than loneliness that hurt. i watched as the hand of God touched each dark part of my life and, although still so messy, made it brilliant. eventually, i came home. and i had been made different. the work that had been done in that little alaskan town continued to touch everything. making it messier…but making it more.

tonight i find myself in a similar place. i have ended another year at the inn and i am about to fly off for the summer. tonight i am hurting. and sad. tonight i know the mistakes i have made. tonight i am broken. tonight i feel alone. and my life is still messy. and like two years ago, i feel a bit scared…mostly that things won’t ever change, that i won’t ever know how to chase the dark stuff away or find the courage to tell myself a new story. but something is very different tonight as well. i am not running. i am not wanting to skip out on my life. in fact, i think tonight i’m walking in the opposite direction. i don’t want to escape, i want to be present. i want to bring it all, and i want to be present.

so, i’ll fly to tanzania tomorrow. as a broken woman i’ll hold kids with broken lives. with a life rich with mistakes, i’ll make some more. as a lonely woman, i’ll play with children who’s families have left them. as someone scared that things won’t ever change, i’ll try to tell a new story. i’ll ask into other’s lives. i will continue to hurt, and i’ll share that with others. and i pray….”Lord, i want to be present.”