13 June 2007

it's official!

for so long i've been craving some kind of movement in my life. i've felt resigned to a sort of complacent stagnancy over the past couple years and for one reason or another i've been unable to cultivate the kind of adventure and purpose i want my life to sing of. well, with a bit of trepidation here and there, small and tenative steps have been made over the past several months and i have exciting news to share.

i will be going to the beautiful land of south africa for a month in october to spend some time volunteering with a wonderful couple who have recently made this grand place their home. and now it's truly official as i purchased my ticket yesterday!

i suppose now that the news has been shared, i should give a bit of background to how i find myself excitedly anticipating this upcoming journey. first of all, i've been in seattle for a long time...longer than i've lived anywhere in my life since moving here to attend college in 1993. i can hardly believe i've lived here that long! seattle has been the home i've loved and felt a part of for so many great years. i've built beautiful friendships, belonged to a rich community, and discovered more about becoming myself than i ever have before.

somehow in recent years though i've felt a loosening of those things in my life, and now more than ever before, i find myself untethered, often floating adrift in some kind of sea of loneliness and longing desperately for some kind of way out of it all. most of you who know me well, know my introverted tendencies. and what this leads to of course, is that i often turn inwards, spending way too much time inside my head instead of reaching out to those who might help bring some sort of respite to this current state of mind.

in trying to dream up some sort of way out of this place, i realized that the best way to take the focus off oneself is to have a shift of perspective, and i can think of no better way to do that than through the act of service.

this brings me to going to south africa. i've long been drawn to this country, and it's a stirring that i'm not quite sure i fully understand. i only know that my soul was first gripped when i read cry the beloved country by alan paton back in high school and the hold has never since been loosed. this book painted a picture of a beautiful country ravaged by injustice and cruelty, but that was still so full of hope and the possibility for redemption and reconciliation. it's these themes that keep bringing me back, that inspire me to try to weave my own story into one that hopes to foster these qualities as i live in the everyday.

a couple years ago i met the parents of an acquaintance who had been making several trips to south africa every year and were planning on moving there full time to work and serve in the community. i recently contacted them, sharing a bit about my story and my current place in life and asked them if they'd be willing to have me come out and do some volunteer work alongside them. we met and shared a wonderful dinner during their recent visit to the states, and we spent time chatting and getting to know one another. the next day they graciously extended an invitation for me to visit them in south africa this fall.

my heart is full of possibility. like i said, i need movement in my life and the anticipation of casting my eyes on the african soil in a few short months is causing hope to rise up from deep inside of me. this is exactly the change i've been needing, something to pull me out of my malaise and actually do something with my life. wish me luck as i step into this new adventure!