Last night, after a dinner I really enjoyed, I curled up in my own bed again. I always light one candle as I am reading and jot down some notes on the day. Yesterday I realized I had been in the car all day, mainly dosing of, reflecting and staring at the road with a conversation occasionally. I could have easily written my blog entry for the day, yet I sort of forgot. Nothing much to write about I guess. So, I started writing before going to sleep. I fell asleep after about 50 words of a non-published blog.
Today is Saturday. Generally, the day that I’d like to have for myself. I need those days. I am definitely an introvert when it comes to gaining energy. A book, some sunshine and last night’s leftovers from dinner make me a very happy girl. Gradually throughout the day, I realized that this past week made me tired. Even though I just had a wonderful break, diving right back into work, was sort of intense. Not bad or anything, but an exciting and challenging week. I was a bit anxious last weekend. Unsure of what was next.
Today I listened to a podcast about reflecting on your life trajectory. Whether you had this idea as a child of how it would be and then compare it to where you actually are right now. In the podcast, Elisabeth Elliot was quoted. Without getting into too much detail, she was definitely a strong woman that went through a lot in her life.
“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’
Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.”
It brought me back to the conversation last night. No, not everything has been easy in the past 5 months that I have been here, but yes, I am in the right place. I’ve made my choice. I don’t want to go back. But on a bigger scale, I didn’t really see myself ending up here. When I got that email in the beginning of the year, I couldn’t have thought that I would do what I would do now. That my new nickname would be Madame KoBo. (That refers to the program that I am training staff on to collect data digitally.) I’ve learned, grown and got opportunities to change in ways that I couldn’t imagine before my start with ZOA.
In the next few weeks and months, more change is coming up. If I keep writing, then you’ll gradually read all about it. Maybe I’ll stop writing after my 25th birthday. It’s coming up soon. Just a little over a month. By then I’ll definitely write some things about how this whole writing for a year thing has changed me. How I’ve grown through it. Because that’s the one thing I am sure of. This whole adventure maybe wasn’t so much about becoming an excellent writer, but about finding ways for feed this deeper desire to keep growing and learning.
The desire that has always sort of been there and has been a source of inspiration and guidance. Today is also the end of another season at camp. The place that fueled the desire to learn and grow. I haven’t been part of this year’s season directly, yet today I took some time to look through the memories of last year. I wrote about hiking with 10 sweaty young men singing Adele songs through a thunderstorm on the top of a mountain. I wrote about one of the girls that called me to talk about a difficult experience she was going through and I told her not to be scared to let have camp have an impact on her. I finished the Instagram post with one of my favourite C.S. Lewis quotes: “There are far better things ahead, then any you leave behind.”
Life changes. It changes all the time. Loved ones come and go. Relationships end and you move on to find that someone even more special is right around the corner. Adventures start and end. Life goes up and down. And through it all, we learn and we grow. Through it all, I want to keep growing and learning. It would be easier to stay exactly where you are. To lock the change out. To lock out being vulnerable. To let life just flow without actively taking the next step. Definitely easier, probably much less hurt long the way, but I am not sure if that’s what I want to go for.
The other option is indeed to keep learning and growing. To dive right in. Even though that means choosing the uncertain, the unknown and starting over again and again. But in the end, the only thing that you need to do is simply the next thing. Even if that’s just resting on a Saturday. Eating leftovers and soaking in the sunshine. And then back to work on Monday.
Even though I might be tired and still a little scared of what lies ahead, I know that it will be far better than anything I leave behind. And that all I have to do is the next thing.