Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Hope There Are Lemurs

Adventures don't always start out glamorous and exiting. They start out confusing, and mysterious, and most of the time, expensive. Sometimes adventures are so intimidating that we let them pass us by, because we are sure that they are unattainable.
Maybe, like me, you have had adventures in the past that did not work out the way you wanted them to, so you decided, like me, to become more realistic. You decided that adventures are for children and fictional characters. You thought you had learned your lesson, and that you were ready to move on. But then, another adventure came along, and you just couldn't convince yourself to pass it up, and here's why.
Because hearing languages you don't speak and seeing cultures different from your own is something that you crave. You've experienced it once before, and now you might be addicted to it. Because the world is so big,
and you want to see as much of it as possible. Because you know that sometimes, you need to see the world to be reminded that you are not the center of it. And after you have decided to be brave and take this adventure, the child in you realizes that this particular adventure is to a place that, according to Google, has lemurs, and you've never seen one of those before. Sure, you're a little sad that Giraffes only live on mainland Africa, but Lemurs are cool too. And so you go, because you feel it is what God wants you to do, and honestly, it would be pretty cool to see a lemur.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Strawberry Stains and Other Imperfections

Thanks to a combination of being home over spring break with my parents who are really good at living a healthy lifestyle, and also realizing that my metabolism won't keep up with my lazy eating forever, I have been inspired lately to work harder at being healthy. That is why one day last week I decided to try and convince myself that strawberries are a snack that I enjoy. On that particular day, I was in a good mood because I was wearing my brand new monogrammed sweatshirt that I was able to buy thanks to staying under budget when I was buying textbooks at the beginning of the semester. There I was, feeling like I was really doing this college girl thing right, with my cute clothes and healthy snacking. The thing I failed to realize is that strawberries are juicy, and also very red. They are not a good choice for casual snacking while wearing new clothes, and as I looked down at the little drops of strawberry juice on my new sweatshirt, I felt a little bit like Cinderella at midnight, turned back into my less glamorous self and Googling how to get strawberry stains out of clothes.
It's so easy to get caught up in things that seem like they will make me look perfect. I wish I could look pretty every day and be really excited about healthy eating, but that's just not who I am. After I worked on getting those strawberry stains out of my sweatshirt, I thought about the other "stains" that ruin my attempts to have a life that looks perfect, and then I realized something.  If everything was perfect, I would have nothing to work towards, and my faith wouldn't be as strong, because I wouldn't have to lean on it as much. The most imperfect moments in life are the ones I have learned the most from, and I think that must be the way God planned it. It's good to try hard to be the best version of yourself, and so I will continue working on healthy habits and  keep on wearing my new sweatshirt that I think looks good. But when things end up being less than perfect and new stains appear on my life, I will try to remember all of the imperfect things in my past that I have learned from and not get discouraged. After all, If everything was perfect, what would I write about?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Be Brave

I really like this, because sometimes the things that make
me the most afraid tun out to be the best things.
     I like to think that there aren't many things that I'm afraid of. I used to think I was afraid of flying, until I did fly and discovered that I actually really like it. I still  get nervous in hospitals because many of the memories I have about them are unpleasant, but I've gotten to the point where even surgery is more of an annoyance than anything. True, there are many fears that I have gotten over, but there is one that still stubbornly remains no matter what, and that is the fear of disappointment.
     I have been thinking about this ever since a few days ago when I was considering looking into something that I knew could easily end in disappointment, and someone told me to be brave. It's ironic how someone like me who now has an irrational lack of hesitation at the thought of travelling to all kinds of places and refuses to go higher than 6 on that ridiculous hospital pain scale, needs to be reassured about trying to do something that should actually be fun.
     It has taken me a long time to learn that I am not actually doing a good thing by questioning myself every time I start to get excited about something. Sure, I may be preventing myself from being disappointed, but I may also be preventing myself from doing lots of good things. That attitude sounds a lot like living in fear, which is not how I am called to live.
I really don't like disappointment, I'm pretty sure no one does. But I am starting to realize that I also don't like living in fear, because honestly it's exhausting trying to keep my guard up all the time. I think it's time to start getting rid of that spirit of fear, because it's really not doing much for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Big Questions

Sometimes in higher education, if a two year college is worthy of being called that, questions are asked that have no clear yes or no answer, and are meant to be debated and discussed rather than answered. Since I do not like conflict or confrontation, these questions tend to make me flustered and I often avoid joining the discussions that surround them. However since they are now being asked in class and I don’t want my participation grades to suffer, I have lately been attempting to begin joining these discussions. A few days ago in one of my classes, we were asked if we believed that racial profiling will ever go away. (We had been assigned an article that argued that it is real ,and a problem, so we were being asked the question with that perspective already established.) My first reaction was to be personally offended by this topic that never seems to go away and dissociate from the conversation, but that must not have been God’s plan for that moment, because a Bible verse immediately came to mind, and in that verse I found the answer to this question and several others I have been faced with lately. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33”. And suddenly, instead of staying quiet, I could volunteer my answer. No, other imperfect and unfair human tendencies like the one we were discussing will not go away as my generation gets older. The world has always been, and always will be an imperfect place.
 That, I realized, is how I can answer the big questions, and handle situations like sitting through a three hour class discussion of “white privilege” without walking  away bitter and offended (I did at the time, but now I realize that was the wrong way to react). It is how I answered that question about social profiling, stating that it will exist as long as this world does, and how I plan to handle all of those “big question” moments from now on. With the knowledge that the world is not perfect and I do not have the ability to change that, I am free to let God handle the big issues. I don’t have to know all the answers, in fact I’m not supposed to. It is the nature of college courses to discuss complex and controversial issues, and it is my nature to want to avoid controversy. I need to keep that verse in the back of my head and remember that while discussing complicated things is necessary for the purpose of getting the grade I need, having all of the answers and getting everyone else to agree with me is not. As a student, it will sometimes be my job to discuss the big questions, but in the end I think it might be a good thing that there are some questions that only God has the answers for.