May 21, 2007 3:00pm
Perhaps I should start by saying that for over a month now, I’ve been in at least one different time zone every week and then I’ll tell you about the very diverse, yet uniquely beautiful places I’ve visited… however, the exact places to which I’ve visited haven’t been the most exciting parts, but rather my mind has been both busy and seeking rest about answering some pretty big questions: what really makes me happy? and, for whom am I living?
Without a doubt, the last month has been amazing for a number of reasons. Don’t get the idea that I haven’t been happy or excited to be to Turkey, road tripping to Wyoming, babysitting in Mexico, or reconnecting with friends and family in California. Certainly I have found different joys in each of these adventures, but all have also made be really consider who I am and what makes me tick.
As many of you know, my experience in Turkey is surely the catalyst for my moving heart and active questioning: the day I arrived to Istanbul three men were tortured and murdered in eastern Turkey solely because they were Christian. As expected, following this event the entire Christian community of Turkey (and beyond) was visibly shaken. Obviously. But, the strength with which the body of believers stood strong and grew closer together here in Turkey, among a nation that is over 99% Muslim, was like nothing I have ever seen or experienced before. Our team attended church the Sunday following the Wednesday murders; being witness to the absolute love and passion with which the members were worshipping and praising God was crazy. Crazy. Crazy, but oh so real and oh so very awesome. I learned much on this trip and could go on and on with stories, but in summary… through the people we met (believers and non-believers; Turks and non) and the different circumstances with which we were witness to, the Holy Spirit was working hard on my heart and those of my teammates… challenging us to really think on a few things: are my fears greater than my faith or my faith greater than my fears? Would I be willing to die for what I believe? Am I ready to give my life for God? And, will my life change on a very practical level given that I’ve been witness to such intense love, devotion, and sacrifice for God?
My return from Turkey to the United States, also happened to be the first time I was back to the States since playing basketball in Sweden (aside from a short trip to Connecticut at Christmas). Returning to Palo Alto was a huge blessing, but also challenged me in different ways. While away playing basketball, I knew I missed my friends and family, though the extent to which I longed for this community welled up so strongly when I returned home. Being able to just hang out, to talk to people face-to-face, and be back with those I love was really more amazing than I ever expected. Being back made me miss it all the more and desire to be here for good.
I was back in Palo Alto for less than 48-hours before I set off again on another mini-adventure. This time, I embarked on a road trip with Harriet to Laramie, Wyoming. This trip provided great opportunity for conversation, the chance to drive on the loneliest road in America and fun times in rain, snow, and sleet. Ben and Barry did great. The drive was a long one, but a trip worth doing at least once in a lifetime : )
Flew back to San Francisco via Denver and was blessed with a longer chunk of time in Palo Alto this time – what was it? five days I think! Again, being back made we want to be back for good. I fit in a trip to Cancun to babysit for some sweetheart kids and then I had one last wonderful weekend in Palo Alto before being where I am now… on the plane to Connecticut to visit my family before heading off to Ireland on Friday. Wow. Yes, all over the place. Perhaps I will share some more thoughts now.
For one, basketball: do I want to keep playing? I don’t really know. I think I could find another team somewhere, perhaps go back to Sweden, explore another country, return to Turkey? There are lots of different options here, but I don’t know if playing basketball is what I really want to do next year. At the moment, I’ve been pretty okay with not having picked up a basketball since Turkey. This is a definite change in heart, but not necessarily an unwanted one or unwelcome one, but definitely a change nonetheless. We’ll see how this continues to change or not.
So, if I don’t play basketball what will I do? God knows?! : ) I could certainly see myself being back in the Bay Area starting in the fall. Whether I am in Palo Alto or actually living in San Francisco, I see desirable features in each. However, the question really is what would I do? Again, I ask myself, what makes me most happy?
I want to serve God. Be a student of Him. Really get to now Him better and better. How does this play out in life? How can I be bold in my faith, gentle in spirit, and humble in action?
Right now I know I am going to Ireland at the end of this week and will be there through the beginning of September. I am so excited to learn what camp is all about and really to get the chance to spend time with these precious kids (check it out at www.barretstown.org). I also pretty stoked to be applying to medical school right now too (to enter in the fall of 2008). I feel like I’ve been awaiting the application process for sometime now, and it’s great that I can actually start telling schools that I want to be their student!
Once I return from Ireland in September, I don’t know what I will be doing. I love being with kids; I feel especially drawn to sick kids, but I love pretty much all kids! Perhaps I could get a job on campus with a ministry group, the alumni association, student affairs, athletics… who knows there?! But, I think I most aggressively (though we all know it won’t be all that aggressive) want to explore different ways in which I could be with children. I’m pretty open here. So, if you have any ideas… Ronald McDonald House, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Bing Nursery School, Art Therapy Institute… these are ideas that have been mentioned to me in different setting and all have a certain appeal. So, really, if you have any ideas at all – if you know me and think you can figure out what I’d like to do ;) then surely shoot me some thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
Lastly, I’d be most thankful if you would just pray for me: pray that I trust in God, pursue disciplined quiet time and prayer, and rest in His awesome grace and peace.
Hopefully I’ll blog again before heading off to Ireland, but if not, I will hopefully have internet access (email@example.com) there and I will get a mailing address to you as soon as I have one. Thank you for all your support, love, and encouragement. The last several months, but especially the last one, has been life-changing, life-giving, and challenging in new and different ways. I’m so excited for what lies ahead!