I remember sunlight. Hot, hot sunlight falling in giant golden waves from a wide, blue sky. So hot that the cement of the sidewalk burned my feet through my shoes. The air was so thick that the only relief was getting on our bikes and riding along, just to get moving through the humidity. There came a point when I just had to acknowledge that I would never be dry again.
There were bike paths we used. We’d fly down the sidewalks, skirts flying, through groves of trees where cicadas chirped loudly. At first I hated that sound. Probably because one tried to attack me once. We’d ride under the trees, in the dappled light, and come out on the other side in a whoosh of air.
I miss it that feeling.
My religious mission ended about nine months ago now. I cannot believe that it has been that long. And though it was a huge part of my life, so incredibly vital, it isn’t something that I talk about a lot on this blog.
To be fair, there’s lots that I don’t talk with you about.
It’s not as though I feel guilty or anything. I’m sure there is a lot that the blogs I follow don’t share either. And that’s fine. We can all choose our level of privacy. I’ve just chosen that mine be pretty strict.
The reason that I bring up my mission tonight is because I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now. I mean, A LOT! You probably guessed this by my lack of posting, which I apologize for. Honestly I’ve just been trying to keep my head above water here.
But my mission changed my life forever. It changed me. To this day, my mission has an impact on my daily life and I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it always will.
There were many times out there in that Texas heat that I felt so incredibly alone. Interesting, when I knew that I was on the Lord’s errand. It seems so beautifully intricate to me now, though, how God works. How He teaches us things. There were many things I didn’t understand then that I understand right now. In this moment.
As a history student I look at the past every day, it is one of my main passions and makes my heart so happy. These past weeks since being in school again have broken my soul wide open, and things are pouring out of it that I forgot about.
I look at Michelangelo’s work and can’t breathe. His sculpture literally takes my breath away. It makes me cry. Looking at his work Pieta is nothing less than a spiritual experience. His works are so beautiful it aches.
Leonardo da Vinci has forever been one of my all time favorite historical figures. It is only recently that I realize how much his work pulls at my heartstrings. His paintings bring about an awe that I cannot suppress.
I have discovered that Anglo-Saxon literature breathes a fire into my blood. When I read the opening lines of Beowulf I couldn’t help myself: tears welled in my eyes. There was one passage in particular that caused an actual gasp to come from me. A man sees Beowulf and says about him, “He is truly noble.”
This pulled at me in a way I could neither deny nor explain. I’ve been fascinated with the word “noble” for a long while now. In fact, I have a canvas on my wall painted in royal blue with the word NOBLE painted on it in big gold letters. It reminds me daily of what it means to be a noble person, and to act as one.
All of this beauty and inspiration has gotten the wheels in my mind turning in ways they haven’t for a long time. To be honest, I was beginning to fear that I’d lost my talents and passions. I was beginning to fear that my ambitions were gone and that my thirst for knowledge had been drained.
I’ve come to find the opposite has happened. It is as if my mind cannot get enough, and it’s spilling into my heart and soul. And instead of filling, they are only expanding and crying out for more beauty and knowledge. It is incredible to me how it is all working. I sit in awe and wonder how I’ll ever learn it all, how I’ll ever hold everything I wish to know.
And then I think of the practical things. Where will life fit in this scholarly road? For surely one must put scholarly pursuits aside at some point to just enjoy the sunshine.
And there we come to another theme in my life. The sunshine. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been thinking so much about my mission.
I miss the sunshine! I haven’t seen it in days, and my soul is craving it. I just keep reminding myself that someday it will shine and someday there will be green grass again. Grass that you can lay in and roll around in, sunshine that will tan your skin, and the heat will just sit there and roll over you, and it will feel incredible. And all of that sunshine will just go right into your soul. And that is beautiful.
And with it all there has been a lot of confusion. A lot of loneliness. It is strange to think that being surrounded by thousands of people I could feel lonely. But I do. My family isn’t even that far away, but still I feel separated from them in a strange way.
And I don’t know how to make it all fit. Life and family and knowledge and learning. And I know that it can, and I know that it will. But the sidewalk isn’t as illuminated as it was in Texas. The way to go doesn’t seem as clear. But then again, at the time it didn’t either. At the time, apart from all of the wonderful things I was doing and becoming, I was having the hardest time I’d ever had in my life. I couldn’t see the way. But eventually I did, and when the answers came they were brilliant.
Lately I have been going through an experience similar to one I had previous to my mission, where I was confused and felt lost. I felt that something was missing but I didn’t know what. The answer that I received then was very simple: Have faith and continue on in what you know.
I did that. And the answer did come. Though it isn’t exactly the same now, it is similar. I don’t necessarily feel as if something is missing so much as I feel that it isn’t all coming together. It has been strange because in many ways I’m very, very happy. All of this learning has fed my soul in a way it sorely needed, and brought me a kind of joy that I’ve dearly missed.
But in the things that I don’t understand, I can have faith. I can continue forward in what I do know and trust that the rest will come with time. I can remember that the sun is still shining, even if I can’t see it, and soon it will be warm again.