December 15, 2004

5 more days

It's 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. 5 days from now I will be on a plane, winging my way back to the Houston International Airport, where I will get off the plane, go through customs, and then head to the nearest snack shop, where I will buy a Mt. Dew and drink half of it before I ever make it to the check out line. I will then spend the next hour pacing the halls of IAH, walking off my sugar/caffeine high while I wait to get on the plane that will take me to Nashville. Unavoidably, I will have to use the airplane bathroom due to my consumption of the Mt. Dew, but it will worth it, even though I hate airplane bathrooms.

I am really excited about going home. By the time I make it there, I will have been gone for less than 3 months...really only little more than 10 weeks. This is nothing compared to the schedules I've had most summers. Even in college I rarely came home unless it was a holiday break. But this is my first time to live outside the States and it has made these 10 weeks seem much longer.

When I interviewed for this job, my boss asked me if I had ever lived outside the US and when I said no, he warned me that the first couple of months are hard. That everyone goes through that depression period during those first couple of weeks, and it really takes a long time to adjust. At the time, I just said, "Ok, I'm sure it does." But in my head, I was thinking, "Yeah, but not to me. You don't know me. This won't be a huge deal for me, and I certainly doubt that I'll get depressed."

I'm arrogant like that.

And, as you know, I'm wrong like that, too.

Moving to Guatemala City has been one of the biggest challenges I've faced thus far in my short life, to be completely honest. It's more than just the frustrations with language, or my car, or living with a family that I didn't know, or trying to adjust to a new's all of these things and more. It's dealing with homesickness in a way I've never experienced, it's been missing my friends and my community more than I ever have in all my other travels, it's this whole feeling pulled away from the path I've been on for the past 4 years. It's the sadness and depression and anger I've felt at being here.

I came to Guatemala looking for some adventure, and I certainly have found it. Not exactly in the ways or the places I expected to, but there is adventure there nonetheless. I don't regret coming here. I don't regret having to deal with each and every one of those things I mentioned above. I may not like every part about this journey God is taking me on, but I think it will all be worth it in the end.

I'm going home for Christmas, and will return here in January. I won't be back in the States until May of 2005. I'm already worried about those 5 months, which I know is ridiculous and self-defeating. I'm trying to leave the future where it is, in the future and out of my hands. It's hard, though.

With all the uncertainty I feel about my life and my direction, it's very easy to worry my way through the day. Some days, I pretend like none of it exists and I use denial as a way to make it til bedtime without going insane. Most days, the uncertainty just eats away at the back of my head. I don't know what to do. I spent some time the other day online looking at seminaries, and then I spent some time looking at full-time camping jobs in the States, then I went and looked at international youth ministry opportunities in Europe. After I'd wasted an hour, I realized just how crazy I am. I'm not even sure I want to be in professional ministry anymore, but the idea is so ingrained into me that I can't even really think about anything outside that box.

A wise friend of mine asked me the other day what part of my job as a youth minister did I like best. I thought for a few seconds, and I realized, I don't really like any of it especially well. I can do it all fine...but none of it really gets me going. I don't have trouble speaking in front of people and I often enjoy coming up with talks, but I don't get really pumped about it. And I have fun coming up with crazy games and playing around with kids...but it's definitely not my favorite thing to do. I do enjoy talking to kids and getting to know them and helping with their lives...most of the time I feel like I am grossly unequiped to help the way I should be able to.

In reality, I like helping. I like making sure everything is ready to go, and that all the trash gets picked up and the chairs are put back at the end of the night.

I like serving. And I'm beginning to think that may have more to do with my calling than teenagers do. I don't think I'm made to be in the spotlight, especially when it seems I work so much better as the backstage crew.

But how do you make a life out of that? Being a volunteer certainly doesn't pay much. I'm going home in May and then what? Where do I get money for insurance and rent and gas and my overdue fines at the library?

It certainly would be nice to marry some nice guy who wanted to pay for all those things...but that obviously isn't in God's plan for me just yet, so what do I do in the mean time?

I don't mean that I'm waiting for a man to show up and solve all my problems, cause I definitely am not.

I don't mind working and taking care of myself, but at this point, I just don't know how I'm supposed to do that.

Maybe Santa will leave the answer in my stocking.

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