“You are here.”

This morning I was going through a box of some of my old things from high school and before, and I came across a cassette tape with words written in red pen, “CEL & ESL 1992.”  Curious of what my brother (ESL) and I (CEL) would have said and what we sounded like in 1992, I found a tape player in my brother’s room and popped in the tape.  As I listened to myself making up some song about a mouse in my house, I slowly began remembering the day I made that tape. We were living in our old house, and I was in the living room with my grey and black tape player/recorder. Dad bought me a microphone to plug into it so that I could sing onto tapes and play it back for myself (and anyone else who would listen) to hear. This particular tape appeared to have been made for my mother’s birthday (“Happy birthday, Mommy! We love you! You’re birthday was last week…I think.”) and my quick math made me realize that Mom was only 32 at this time. My voice sounded so innocent, so carefree – a little 5 year old girl who loved to hear the sound of her own voice.

Life is changing so quickly that I almost can’t keep up with it.  Is this how it is from here on out, or have my life up until now just been relatively stable?  I’ve been in school for 18 years, always having some idea what the next year would hold.  Now, all of a sudden I get a piece of paper declaring I have a degree and now I’m out in the world!  Slowly (or maybe quickly for some), the responsibilities and demands start piling on. At SEND training we were talking about healthcare and investing and pension plans.  Pension plans?!  Who can talk about retirment when I haven’t even started working yet!?  Investing?  I need to pay off those student loans!

I can’t promise this blog will be anything clean cut; I don’t think my life will be like that. It’s going to get messy.  I’ve been wrestling with how “honest” to be here – it’s my natural inclination to try and make you see me as someone who has it all together.  But that’s not real life and that’s not this process.

So where am I now? In my last post, I explained some of the road it’s been to get me to where I am today. Where did that land me? Right now, I’m two months on the other end of graduating college and, like many other people in my class, I’m living at home with my family (for the record, this is also something I said I never wanted to do).  I’m attending Trinity Church, the church that my family started to go to once I began college.  It has been a huge blessing to be a part of an amazing group of believers and before I moved home I told myself that I would consider going home if it were solely based on the desire to want to become a member at Trinity.  With my friend Katy, I’m starting a small group study for young adults, a fellowship group we all desperately need. At the same time, I’m working on partner development as I raise support for SEND which means that I’ll be meeting with individuals and pastors on a regular basis. I gave my first presentation at Trinity last Sunday with a display set up in the back of the church (I got to wear my official SEND name badge too!). It was such an encouragement to see people get excited for me and for my ministry. My pastor has raised support during his 20 years of work with Campus Crusade and so he knows what I’m going through and what works – this is another blessing I could not have imagined.

I will actually be taking a short hiatus from partner development as I go to Poland – next week!  With my graduation gift money, and thanks to the decrease in price of international travel, I am going to spend a month in my beloved Poland – visiting friends, camping, teaching English (unofficially, I’m not certified), and sharing the love of Christ with those who I meet.  I’m visiting a friend in Berlin on my way there (a week from today I will be exploring Berlin!) and then going camping in the mountains with another friend for a week before I arrive in Wrocław and head to English camp.  Another main reason why I’m going is because last September (2008), a good friend of mine was killed in a car accident and  I wanted to go to Poland last year but the price was too high and the timing not right. Now, as I get ready to pack, she is all I think of.  I keep thinking of what she wore and what she taught me about the Polish culture, and a part of me expects to see her at camp. I expect that she’ll get there and I will give her a huge hug and we’ll stay up late at night talking about futbol or heaven. I expect that we’ll dance together, hike together, and eat ice cream (Polish: “lody”) together. None of that will happen with her. Instead, I will sit by her graveside and I will weep. I will weep for the young life that was lost and I will weep with thanksgiving that the Lord allowed me to be a part of her short life.

I expect this trip to be one of discovery. I expect this trip to stretch me in ways of my dependence on God and testing of who I really am. I don’t know if I’m ready for that, but that’s usually when God teaches me the most – when I’m not exactly prepared for it. And maybe that’s just where I need to be in life – willing to step out, but not exactly sure if I’m ready.

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