I cannot believe I am sitting on an airplane, drinking “Café Mystique US Airways” coffee (that is seriously what it says on the Styrofoam cup), 43,000 miles up in the air, only an hour away from Los Angeles International Airport. The last day has been a blur—minimal sleep, excess amounts of coffee, and sweat outbreaks because of two midterms I had to take. Afterwards, I quickly did laundry, had three friends visit, and then Colleen and I were off to Washington DC. Laying my head on the pillow at 11:30 and waking up at 3:45 to begin a wild journey.
Flying standby is stressful and there is no other way to put it. No seats available, no flight for Rebecca. I wish I could explain how many flights I was considering to take to do this story justice, but long story short, at 3:45AM there were 0 seats available for my second flight. 0. Zero. Zehaa-raw. I had intended to try for another flight to make another connection and eventually end up in CA, but when I checked in my luggage, the lady said “Both flights look good so I won’t stamp your bag as standby.” Huh? Both flights look good? Really, because about 40 minutes ago there were no seats left.
I hop off my first flight, RUN to terminal B (seriously, if you ever are on those moving escalator side-walk thingers, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY for people who actually need this speed enhanced machine!) and after the not-so-nice employee @ Special Services says, “can’t do anything to help you,” I sit down feeling extremely defeated. Tears start welling because I cry when I am stressed. Sorry ‘bout it.
I check online and 14 seats show up. Fourteen?? How? What? Okay, I’ll take it! With my dad’s seniority, I then had a boarding pass gratefully stuck in between my palms. God is mysterious and I doubt. I doubt a lot and do not give him credit. “He definitely does not care about my flight drama. People are dying.” Maybe that is the case, because I would like to think he is taking care and performing miracles, but either way this was my mini-miracle. A small celebration. A moment of gratitude.
I am listening to Matt Wertz because he reminds me of Young Life camp, which is probably the safest place my mind can ever wander when I am feeling uneasy, unsure, and a little fearful. Why am I “afraid” to go to California? Well, I am not afraid of spending time with my best friend, my soul mate, my older sister. Wow, what joy will that bring the both of us. Anyone have a sister? Sibling maybe? Do you have a connection with them? Because if so you totally know the feeling I mean when you desperately crave to unite with that person who compliments you, frustrates you, and loves you without doing a single thing. No performance necessary, only genuine enjoyment of each other’s company. I need that a lot in my life (hence why I am always homesick for my sisters). The presence of my sisters is also one of the safest places I can ever go. They are probably the only two places I can go. (oh, and mom). Spending time with Nina is a continual pouring in and out relationship, where we both are energized by each other, yet are honest and our complete selves.
But besides spending time with her, it is the first time I am visiting APU since I have transferred…and I don’t know if this is irrational of me or not, but I am nervous. APU is a place of the highest peaks in my life and the lowest lows. It is where I contracted swine flu on the day my aunt died back east, it is where I was given the opportunity to travel to Cambodia, it is where I entered into my first serious relationship, it is where I first led Young Life, it is where I academically explored the bible in class, it is where I discovered my innate passion for fighting against injustice and inequality by becoming a Sociology major. It is where I freely raised my arms in worship without fear of being judged, it is where I found out Dominic had committed suicide, it is where I had run wild in Disneyland, feeling like a seven year old again. It is where staff and professors recognized me, it is where I first tried counseling, it is where I really explored my passionate soul, and it is where I had my heart broken. APU, you gave me opportunities. LOTS of them. Up and down ones to say the least.
But I salute you, APU, because although at times (most of the time), when I did not know how to fight the battles, you pushed me…you pushed me to wrestle with my Father, with my friends, boyfriend, myself. You pushed me…too hard, I admit. And graciously I was removed and gently put in one of the most fruitful, beautiful seasons in my life. But I would be a fool to say I don’t think about APU everyday or that it wasn’t my reality for the past two years. Without APU, I would not be where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be. Wow I am giddy writing that because I am finally at a place where healing has happened and I can look at APU with tender, forgiving, and admirable eyes. And I am not stuck, immobile, or trapped. I am free as can be in my heart, identity, and even geographical location. I can take APU with the beautiful things it offers and look at those dark moments with the knowledge it is okay. It was not always dark. Run after the light and affectionate moments.
Circumstance does not define me, but only contributes to my growth and experience. APU and JMU do not define me, but brutally and gently throw opportunities, relationships, and experiences at me. I have taken the hard punch, handled it pretty poorly, but also have jumped up and down and danced around with joy. So this break, I will reconnect with the saving graces of my APU experience…I write on this blog to publicly (except it is kind of private by the amount of my readers:) declare I will say sorry to those I have hurt or felt abandoned by me suddenly transferring. And I will rejoice, and explode with giddiness and appreciation for those who know me so well and have seen me too little.
Now I can’t say I won’t be emotional or even have a breakdown. I want the freedom to feel my emotions to the twentieth degree and not be ashamed but acknowledge hard parts but also the sweet parts. I can say, though, that I will walk in full confidence and assurance of where my Love is guiding me, taking me, and has taken me thus far. For that, I am forever thankful.
Wednesday, while I was working at the library, I had bursts of anxiety, confusion, and fear for going to California. “What am I thinking? Why would I want to put myself in a stressful situation (flying), chaotic week of moving around, and emotional situations where memories will flood?”
Then He answered me, very clearly and very gently. He said “Why wouldn’t you? Why would you choose comfort when you so, personally know the value of taking risks? Why would you not trust me?”
Why would I not go to California? Why would I not put myself in the most emotional situations? Is that not what life is about? To feel, to feel to the point of crying in the best and worst sense. To explore, engage, remember, reflect, pray, and praise. I want that at all times. Whether I am flying across the country to California, at Spotswood high school in Virginia, or nuzzled in my cozy room in Pennsylvania. I want to explore, engage, remember, reflect, pray, and praise for all of the days of my life. I am starting now.