I have been absent from this site for almost a month now. It seems most of my spare moments recently are either spent sleeping or in full zone-out, crash mode. The daily routine has grinded down my energy and I have started to feel a little like a tired mouse on a wheel. Running and running, never going anywhere, but can’t stop the motion…
Until an idea came to me. For months now I have been considering how I can get involved in more things that will encourage, uplift, and help other people. How can I see more of the world doing this? How can I test and improve myself so that I break the redundant motion of the wheel? How can I refresh and renew my spirit? And then it came to me, a volunteer vacation might be just the ticket. After much consideration and prayer over the last few months I have determined that my answer lies somewhere in the heart of Africa.
Yes, I know – a little risky, actually quite a bit risky. Thinking about the disease, the poverty, the crime, the war, the sadness, the hunger of the people of Africa is a daunting challenge for me to wrap my little mind around. I definitely have concerns about my well-being and safety. There’s also a financial issue involved – it’s not necessarily cheap to help people in a third world country. However, despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, I can’t help but think about the possibility that by me taking a risk and sacrificing finances and comfort, that God may use me in incredible ways there. I can’t help but think about, if I don’t take this opportunity now while I’m young and unattached, what regret will fill my heart.
I have been reading up on Africa and researching the history, politics, and any other random information that may prove useful on this journey. The more I read, the more I realize how difficult this journey may be. And while some have thought that I’m a little crazy for wanting to put myself in the middle of known dangers, I came across the following excerpt in a book that I thought to be the best summary of my thoughts and feelings about this trip and for that matter life in general:
“At times like this in life I usually found myself asking why. Why do people do this? Why do we invite trials, frustrations, and discomfort? Why do we intentionally put ourselves in situations that we know will push us beyond where we like to be pushed, to places we know will be tough?
Maybe, I finally resolved, there isn’t one simple answer, just a longing to be tested and proven. A desire to know that we can overcome whatever obstacle we may be forced to face. It is only when we are pushed past our self-perceived limits that we are able to clearly see our truest nature, discover our deepest selves, only then can we hope to improve upon what we find. To do so is neither safe nor comfortable, it is both dangerous and scary. But we warriors at heart were meant to live dangerously.”
~Erik Mirandette from The Only Road North
So while there is still more to learn and plan before visiting this mysterious center of the world I do hope that if I do manage to coordinate a trip that God will keep me safe and use my time there for His will. That I will not only have the time of my life, but that I will improve upon myself while helping improve others’ lives. Even the smallest things can become the biggest miracles for some. I will continue to post developments about this ongoing adventure…