I celebrated my 25th birthday in the bush at a Kenya Baptist Women's meeting and thought my life couldn't be any more amazing than it was at that moment.
And, in truth, it was amazing at the moment.
I was using a squatty potty, taking a cat bath, sleeping on a plain mattress in a large room shared with women I didn't know but with whom I shared a common faith. For a girly-girl, it was totally outside of my comfort zone. But that the same time, I felt so alive and so aware of the blessing that was that moment.
Now here I am, many years past that moment.
(We won't talk about how many years.)
In the midst of the wonder of that moment, I was worried about what was ahead of me. How could anything possibly compare?
I've learned something valuable since then: Life is as amazing as you let it be. If you're looking - or even if you're just willing to look - you'll see glimpses of it in the every day.
- A sunrise that takes your breath away as you pull out of the garage in the morning.
- A nice train operator that takes time to thank you for using public transport instead of merely pulling into the station.
- New music delivered through new technology that touches old memories.
- Timely text messages that pull you back from despair and uncertainty.
- The realization that you know your hair dresser - even though you speak different heart languages, you're bonded and have to hug one another in addition to getting a hair cut.
- Plus the people that you smile and say hello to and you can see the emotional change that makes in their day, written on their face as clear as can be.
Life is amazing when we're willing to say
I am not afraid.
What's the point?
Circling back to my original question regarding what I would tell my 25-year-old-self, I think I would stick with that advice:
Be strong and courageous.
Fear robs us of joy and stunts our ability to experience the extraordinary that's around us, hiding in the ordinary.