About six months ago I began writing this blog. I’d never done anything like this before, and had only began writing for the Caringbridge site when Michael was in the hospital. It was the result of lots of encouragement from family and friends that I decided to take this on. When I decided to begin, the name I felt like I needed was “Where I Go From Here”. It was never “Where do I go from here?” It was never a question, but more of a statement. I knew God would lead me in some direction, though I didn’t know which one. So I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in this time.
First, about the blog. I’ve learned that this isn’t as easy as it looked to me. I’ve gained a new appreciation of those that write and host complicated websites and blog posts with links and pictures and all kinds of media attached. Boy am I out of my league. I’ve learned that it’s scary and makes you very vulnerable to put your honest feelings and ideas out for everybody to see. And sometimes you want to just hide out for a few days after the post is out before you’re brave enough to see if anyone has commented and what they’ve said. I’ve learned that it’s very humbling to convey your thoughts and have people actually spend their time reading what you’ve said. I appreciate every comment and Facebook “like” (even though I’ve not yet figured out how to respond to those who leave comments on the website itself).
I also didn’t know at the time that I would literally GO to physical places as well. Most of the last two weeks I’ve been in South Africa. Didn’t see that one coming six months ago. Makes me think of that old Dr. Seuss book Oh The Places You’ll Go! So I’d like to take a minute to tell you some of what I’m taking out of Africa.
I’ve learned that I can pack two weeks worth of clothes in a medium sized suitcase, come in under the 44 lb. weight limit, and still have packed too much.
I’ve learned that I can put myself out there to join a group of 28 traveling strangers, sit back and watch the new relationships develop and not feel insecure.
I’ve learned that I’m still agile enough to climb up the outside of an open jeep to the seats on the highest level (picture Granny from the Bevery Hillbillies sitting up in her rocking chair on the back of the old truck).
I’ve learned that animals are much more beautiful in their natural setting – zoos and circuses just don’t do them justice.
I’ve also learned that some people drink – a lot. I know I’m not a big drinker and I try not to judge others who choose to drink, but I’ve been watching people drink wine for lunch, cocktails at the sunset safari, wine in the bar upon return and then a few more glasses at dinner. WHEW! I mean how much is too much? (I’d actually be interested to hear your opinion on this question.)
I’ve learned that I can go nine days without an attack of homesickness – I think a new personal best for me. Maybe because there’s no one at home waiting for me anymore.
I’ve learned that in spite of the lyrics to that Disney song, it’s a BIG world out there. It seems silly to say, but there are so many people living lives that are so different and “foreign” from my way of life. People who have moved from country to country at different times I their lives. They’ve taken their families and learned new languages, cultures and traditions. They haven’t lived their whole lives in one city or state.
I’ve learned that if our little traveling group is any indication, there are a lot of people in this world who don’t know God. They say things about spirituality and tolerance and higher powers and everybody finding their own way. But it all sounds mighty hollow to me and I wouldn’t want to have only those platitudes to cling to as I go through life
And I’ve learned that even if I’m almost 9000 miles away from home, when the band plays What A Wonderful World, I can still see and hear Michael singing like Louis Armstrong with his head back and his eyes closed.
Michael, if you can hear me, I miss you and I love you!