Life has been a bit of a blur since I got back from Asia. In fact, the last few days of my trip are seeming more like a weird dream at this point…I can’t even believe I was there.
My trip was amazing, though. Truly. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life, and hopefully be able to return to the magical country of Thailand in the not-so-distant future. I can definitely see why so many people I know have fallen in love with that place. It would be hard not to love it. The food, the people, the landscape, the hello kitty…It is all precious and beautiful and inspiring and fascinating. And getting to experience it with people who have either lived there in the past or currently live there now was unbelievable. I felt like I was somehow cheating the system, getting to be told how things work and what food to try and the things I do that are very offensive in Thai culture. How do people go places without people who know the culture so well?? I seriously lucked out.
One thing people told me a lot before and after my trip was “Enjoy it! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!”
Or this one: “Enjoy it now, because once you have kids…ya know. (wink).”
One one hand, sure. I might not ever get to go to Thailand with Constance again. Or (God forbid) Thailand again. But I will not accept whatever reality people are selling me that I can’t travel unless I am childless and have the semester off of school. This season will likely never ever happen again for me. But I certainly plan to make choices to keep those options open for me. I chose the OT career because of the flexible work schedule and potential opportunity to do medical missions. We aren’t buying a house because it is important to Josh and I to have the extra money to be able to spend time in other cities/countries. We dream to live abroad for at least a year in the next decade.
I don’t know about you, but I get a little frustrated when people tack their realities onto others as if their own choices weren’t the ones that got them where they are. We really limit each other when we do that. I want God’s best for my life, I want to see Him fulfilling the desires of my heart as I surrender to whatever He has for me every day, and I want the thing He does for me to be a new thing. Not a Caroline-shaped version of something that has been done again and again by those who fail to dream bigger. I am most effective and most loving and most like Jesus when I am allowing Him to shape me into something totally new-not something I’ve seen other people become, no matter how awesome I think they are.
I love to travel. Some people hate it. I am grateful, though, for this season where seeing the world is a reality. It is a gift. Having children will also be a gift. One full of difficult choices. One of the choices I plan to make, though, is making sure we go places. I want my kids to experience the bigness of our planet and witness the suffering of nations and not be ignorant of oppression and injustice. It is something I won’t compromise on, no matter how impractical it may seem. The hard stuff is the important stuff, anyway.
I would much rather live in a trailer park and leave often than a big awesome house that I’m stuck in.
I’m still trying to process all of the things Asia taught me. A lot of the truths came in the form of long car rides with Constance through the Thailand rain forest. Some came in the form of prostitutes or street kids. It will be a long process of unpacking it all, but one that I enjoy so much. I am beyond grateful for all of it. Even “regular” life in Austin has been a bit more exciting now that I’m back.
It is Thursday. You can quit anything on a Thursday. Go make your dreams and God’s plans for you happen. I will fail a lot, but I plan to try and try and try again. And I hope to call the gifts out in the people around me, encouraging bravery and boldness in those God has put in my life. Thank you to the many many people who do that every day for me. It is making a huge difference.