September 13, 2004

The smell and the epiphany

It would seem that my dogs decided to rumble with a skunk tonight. I'm not sure who the loser was, but I think I am being made to suffer for their sins. The stench. Beyond words. Way beyond.



I have been home for one month now. 31 days. I am glad to be out of Texas. Not sure I will ever go back. Nice people and all, but never have I felt less at home in a state. Even Colorado, with the emotionally overwhelming mountains, struck more kindredly than Texas did with my heart.



Have I mentioned the smell in here? Yuck.



Anyway, so I've been home for a while now. Way back when I first came back, well, a month ago...I said I'd be here 6 weeks max. And believe it or not, I might have guessed right. I think things are coming together money-wise, and I am going to be able to leave in a couple of weeks. It's amazing. But it's God, and I will never cease to be amazed by God.



And speaking of God (which I was...), I've been reading this book lately that has made me rethink my faith. Not rethink God so much as rethink myself. And really, I've already read the book, cover to cover. So I guess I'm just still thinking about what this guy Don Miller has to say. The book is called Blue like Jazz. And it's beautiful. It's not without errors (including a typo...I love finding typos in books. It makes me feel smart and it makes me think I could be an editor if this whole youth minister/missionary thing falls through), and it's definitely written by a man. But, despite the sometimes odd style of writing, the guy is honest. I mean, real, smack-you-between-the-eyes-with-a-2x4, honest. And I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Amidst all this rethinking I was doing, I realized something. While I've been moaning and groaning and bemoaning, and generally lamenting these "wasted weeks" at home, I've been missing the whole point. (This is the 2x4 between the eyes part.) I've had a month long vacation...For my body, for my mind, and for my heart. I think it was a vacation I will have desperately needed.

I've been so wrapped up in money problems and all the difficulties that have come as part of the Guatemala package, that I am forgetting one very important detail: This trip, this job, this opportunity...It's going to be rough.

God has specifically chosen me for this job, He is equipping me with money and connections, He is making this silly dream of mine a reality because He loves me. But this is not about me really. This is not another camp adventure I am running off too. This isn't a new state in some part of America that I've never been to. This is a foreign country. And it's real. Dirty. Poor. Full of things that are light years away from my comfort zone. And it's all in Spanish!



This year of my life has the possibility to be the biggest thing that ever happens to me. But like I said, this really isn't about me. It's not, or at least, it shouldn't be, about me learning a new language, or me stretching myself, or me accomplishing all these great things. It's about those people God is going to put in my path. It's about me being Jesus to these people. These teenagers. It doesn't matter if they are originally from Ohio or if they are from the city dump...These people I'm going to be working with and working for are the reason.



I joke that I told God to never make me a missionary. And really, it's not a joke. I really told God to not do it. When I was about 10 years old. I had just learned about Lottie Moon and all the terrible things missionaries have to eat and how they had to talk to complete strangers, and I just knew I couldn't cut it as a missionary. So sitting in the back seat of my parents '93 Lincoln Towncar, on hot, blue leather seats, I told God to please never ask me to be a missionary.



I'm not quite sure why I thought God would ask me to do that at that point, but I was just going to make sure He knew I didn't want it.



About two months ago, in this crazy whirlwind that was my summer, I got a certificate in the mail. It was in a blue cover and had a seal and 4 signatures and goldleaf lettering on it. It said something to the effect of: Congratulations on becoming a missionary!



Guess I learned my lesson about telling God what He could and couldn't ask me to do. I'm sorry I've whined so much about this forced vacation. Sometimes God speaks in gentle nudges and whispers...But I definitely think I understand 2x4's much better.

Me.

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