I knew nearing the end of my time in Thailand, so blessed and grateful, that I had been transformed and refined. I also knew that there would be elements of transformation that would not reveal themselves to me clearly till I returned. I’ve already returned to 2 different places. I was amazed in France as to how new sights seemed to me. I was so amazed because I consider myself a seasoned traveler, a seasoned cross-cultural border jumper. I often used to get irritated at people not seeing beyond them and I was amazed that a whole new level of sight had been revealed to me. Though different than the majority of french citizens and american citizens I still share(d) prejudices and frameworks. Though having gone to many different countries around the world, going to just one extra one had such an effect on me. I am awed and amazed as to the expanse of knowledge and learning experiences that humans can strive for. It is beautiful to truly grasp how infinite this Universe is. It is beautiful to see how many different reflections it encompasses. I am so grateful to be able to dive deep into these beautiful pools before me, to take this new lens, these shattered pieces and be able to look back and have still more revealed to me. To look forward and to imagine, envision and strive towards. I have beautiful visions of shining colored light laughing in the reflections of its unending dance.
Every time I close my eyes, I am overwhelmed by the exhilarating feeling of diving under a strong wave, its energy moving through your core, you diving even deeper yet. My mind is an immense ocean, gracious waves basking me in affection and inspiration. Renewing me. Washing me. Over and over.
Before leaving France. I was scared. I was afraid. Before leaving Thailand I was anxious. Anticipating hurt and pain and new stabs at old wounds. That I would be overwhelmed by drowning pain. In Thailand I banished that fear. I thought upon the good things that await me. The things I dream of and yearn for. Put my thoughts and hopes into light and not the fear of still present darkness. Feed the good wolf. In France as I lay awake at night, adrenaline pumping at my chest I banished anxiety and observed excitement. I turned my emotions from fear to joy.
I left my family at the airport. Crying. Not wanting to leave. The first time in such a long time that my emotions of the pain of separation were allowed to resurface. And yet… This did not stop me from being in unspeakable peace as the plane lifted off the ground. Peace. Sweet, affectionate Peace. What a comfort, what a light to my heart and soul and mind. Twinkling. Little sparks of light in me.
A professor-the first to truly see me- told me my eyes were less anxious. I had no idea they were in the first place. Are the lights in my eyes back? The ones a lover once said he saw.. sometimes. Someone who prayed for me last year now tells me she didn’t recognize me. I’ve been told my friends probably see change in me as well and they are somewhat testing that… Interesting things.
All I know is that as I arrived at Westmont I was sooo gratefully surprised by how amazingly happy I was! Not fear, not angst, not pain or anger or spite.. Just joy and love and grace and acceptance. The realization of this only brought more of these blessed lights, overflowing in me, leading me to spurts of laughter and tears and dance and gasps.
I am able to interact with people. I am able to see the person next to me and speak and connect. All the things that before stuck to me in pain and anger and annoyance are lifted, veils that I do not notice with light shining so warmly on my face.
I am so grateful.
So what would one think? That this happiness be daily, flow freely… I don’t even know. That learning so much taught me to no longer be hurt. That I am no longer lonely and no longer feel misunderstood .That I no longer think that my words and presence are unwelcome. That I no longer am tempted. That I no longer yearn for bad things, bad places, bad connections. That I can clearly always see and always do in light. No. No no.
I seriously thought that I had somehow conquered culture shock. That I had found friends that I could engage in trusting, loving, healthy relationships with. That I could interact with anyone. That I would not make bad mistakes or facilitate others to do so.
No the most prevailing feeling is that these things are still there. For the most part they simply no longer control my being like demons of my soul. Pain and hurt and sadness are still arrows thrown at my heart but the light burns them off. Shame and regret bring cold to my soul but the spirit still blows.
Learning to accept who I am. To have grace with myself. TO know that no matter what I do, He acts through my actions. This is amazing. I cry out to be saved of this wretchedness. To be continuously refined and built up and to bring stones of light blessings to those I encounter. That I would truly see all around me and touch them with warm, soothing light. That my words would not be daggers but warm cloths. Even those words I speak to myself.
Most of all , that I would dream. That I would be patient and faithful to these dreams. That I would be strong and founded in beautiful stones. That I would know the true riches of this world and be a blessing to this world.