Monday, August 13, 2018

It's Okay to Change - Ukraine (pt. 3)

I've changed a lot over the last three years. I lived in three countries, became vegan, witnessed my 93--year-old father experience the hardships of old age, started loving my curly hair and thick eyebrows, embraced a sustainable lifestyle, lost my dearest brother, fell in love in unexpected places, found strength in God, lost and gained friends, traveled to the mountains of China, the ancient cities of Morocco, and far places in between...

It's no wonder that I've changed. How could someone not change after living in a foreign country where everything is new and different? After watching the one you love take their last breath? After sitting under the stars on a rooftop in Morocco talking about the beauty of life? After experiencing the power of God answering your prayers? 

I remember sitting in the Chapel in Ukraine. I had just finished the second week of teaching and I was filled with so many emotions that I just started crying. As the tears dripped down, I took a deep breath and thanked God. I thanked God for allowing me to experience all of the changes I went through because each and every change brought me to that exact moment, to a small village in Ukraine to teach English and be surrounded by some of the most inspiring people I've ever had the privilege of being with. 

In that moment, everything in my life made sense. I realized that it's okay to change. I used to fight change because I was scared of what was on the other side. I was scared of the judgments I would receive, of the friends I would lose, of the feelings I would feel. Change is good. Change is life. Change is shedding the layers to become exactly who and where you are supposed to be. 

I am where I am and where I'm supposed to be. As I enter into the next chapter of my life and this blog, I am building a story of this crazy journey called life, one change at a time. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Walking into Love - Ukraine (pt. 2)

I breathed a sigh of relief. The day's classes were over and my roommate and I were laying on our beds. She turned to me and said, "I have a song that I want you to listen to." 

We sat in silence and listened to the powerful words of the song. When it was over, I asked her if she could play it again. 

The song finished and one phrase kept ringing in my ears...

Walk into love. 
Walk into love.
Walk into love.

I had read many books and quotes about love, and experienced love in many forms, but I never heard it said that way. 

My roommate turned to me and asked me what my favorite part of the song was. I whispered, "Walk into love". 

As I whispered those three words, thoughts began to enclose my mind. I thought about falling in love in high school with a boy who I thought would remain my love for much longer. With him, I naively thought I knew what love was. As I fell more in love, he fell less in love. Soon enough, we parted our ways as I went on to live in the Czech Republic, China, and Italy and travel to over 20 other countries. In each country I lived and traveled to, I searched for love. I had fun, I was free, but deep down I knew I was afraid to walk into love, the real love where you do more than just fall in love...you get a glimpse of someone's soul, you hear their dreams, you walk together with Christ. 

I am no longer afraid to walk into love. Ukraine taught me that love comes in many forms. Walking into love isn't just falling in love. It's listening to someone play the guitar under the stars and wondering how you never heard the sound of their music before. It's sitting in the Chapel after a long day with your best friend and giving everything to God. It's writing a note to someone who made you smile after a long day. It's giving yourself of service to others exactly how you are, imperfections and all. It's allowing yourself to be worthy of the love you will receive in turn.  

Ukraine taught me how to walk into love. I am strong, I am confident, and I am no longer afraid, and for that I'm forever thankful.