In two thousand and thirteen I took my first international flight. I was terrified. I was headed on a service trip with my university and we were visiting Guatemala. I excitedly signed up for the trip. I was ready to learn about a whole new culture. I remember heading out. I was as organized as possible but I was still a mess. I remember rushing to the doctors office to get the required shots, smiling as big as possible with my mouth closed for my passport photo and assuring my mom that despite all she had read on the internet, we would be safe.
By the time I got to the gate for departure and met up with the group my stomach was in knots. It was this new feeling. I was excited, but also a little terrified. I’d never been this far from my family before and this was completely new. I hardly knew the language and I hardly knew the people I was leaving with. Anxiety went into overdrive and I thought of everything that could happen all at once. My rose colored glasses fell off and I wated to abort the mission. I questioned myself and my why. I questioned everything, but once the gate agent called our boarding group my excitement overtook my nerves. I took a deep breath, tried to stop shaking and walked on the plane. “We can do this.” I told myself, “Chase your dreams girl.”
After a 9 hour flight we landed. It was late there. We worked through customs and currency exchange before boarding our bus to the hotel. It was pretty dark but already, everything was different. The air, the scents, the people – everything. We settled into our rooms and went to bed for a few hours before breakfast. The morning was the first time I’d been able to relax and actually get a good look at our surroundings. I looked out of the window first thing and hurried to breakfast. After breakfast we took a brief tour of Guatemala City. Standing in front of a local cathedral I remember pausing and realizing for the first time we had arrived. The weight of preperation left my heart and mind. The anxiety about where I was going and what I was going to do left with it. All that was left was peace and a sense of wonder. Everything else quieted and for whatever reason I was confident in myself and confident about the whole endeavor.
Since that trip I’ve taken other international trips and every single time upon arriving, that peace, quietness, wonder and confidence show right back up. So, when I woke up this morning just twenty-four hours shy of turning twenty-nine I recognized that feeling.
Nothing has changed. My bank account looks the same, I didn’t get a promotion in my career, I didn’t have a dream that led to a spiritual awakening – none of that. Nothing major has changed in the last twenty-four hours but for some reason this morning and all day I’ve felt confident, quieted and peaceful and I’ve felt an immense sense of wonder.
I’d like to think that the last several years have been preperation for who I have become. The painful parts – the required shots, the “stuff I had to do with a smile plastered on” – that passport photo and assuring my mom that I had my stuff together when I definitely did not? – that’s just on brand for me. Do I think that this is the arrival? No, defintely not. As long as I am breathing I know that there is more becoming to do. I also don’t know that I believe we ever fully arrive. But this feeling, this assuredness makes the awkward conversations, the vulneralbility, the sleepless nights, the countless tears, the therapy sessions that didn’t help and the ones that did, the tough realizations, the continuing tenderness, the doctors visits, the half read books, tear stained journal entries, the doubts and the fears feel… worth it.
If I am honest, for at least the past five years I have felt like I was hanging on by a thread but perhaps I was just becoming unbeknownst to me – before my very eyes. Maybe arriving is somewhat like watching for a pot of rice to boil. You get your ingredients, set the temparature and you take all of the steps but as the saying goes- a watched pot never boils. Which, of course is hyperbole. Of course a watched pot will eventually boil but time passes very slowly when you are waiting for something to happen. Especially if that is the only thing you’re thinking about. (Thanks webster) Also, your discontentment while you’re watching that pot will likely reach its peak before the water does.
I know that I will continue to prepare for who I am becoming – and Lord willing this is one arrival of many but I thank God for this glimpse – this peace, this confidence – this life.
I’m walking into twenty-nine full of wonder and that just feels like butter on a fresh cheddar bay biscuit – so so so great.
some recent selfies and some Guatemala photos circa 2013
2 thoughts on “Twenty-nine feels like arriving”
“Feels like butter on a fresh cheddar bay biscuit – so so so great.” I love that line. And your self awareness and perspective and becoming. 🖤Shelby
🤍 thank you so much for reading