the final week.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Am I really going home in a week?

The conflicting answer to that is...yes. I am jumping on a plane and spending a day soaring over the skies back to America in a week. I never thought that moment would come...and yet here it is. Waiting quietly in the corner of May 1st, gazing around, legs crossed and hands folded neatly in it's lap...simply waiting. Not pushing, not forcing, just waiting for me to silently walk forward when the time comes for us to finally meet.

The journey is almost over.

Key word: almost

Meaning I still have a jam-packed week full of adventures, lectures, outings and seven more days to make the most out of the last stretch of this semester. I am consciously trying to make the most out of every opportunity, but the idea of home has finally rooted seriously into the forefront of my mind. It is present in almost every situation - mainly because we are 22 students all in the same place. Meaning we are 22 students all preparing to go home (or at least leave each other) in a week. Meaning it is on the forefront of everyones' minds.

We are all stuck in this weird paradox of the growing excitement of "home" and the confusing and sadness over leaving this place, closing the chapter on this trip and embracing summer vacation before we all return to Westmont in the fall. I'm not sure how I feel about any of it...I'm not sure I want to deal with it until I step off that plane back in the states and suddenly have to embrace all of it at once. I'm constantly shoving it off my present thoughts although it is rooted there. I'm so incredibly conflicted.

But God is good, and he is lavishing his peace and reassurance over my life in this uncertain and uncomfortable time. I feel as though I am walking toward this door that is wide open, that has been waiting for me since I left the states on January 6th, conflicted as I am now, but I am walking so incredibly cautiously. I am stepping softly, constantly looking over my shoulder and stretching out every second that it takes me to arrive at that door. I will have to walk through it on May 1st, a short 7 days away, I will have to push forward although the tears and emotions and fear will tell me not to - I have to walk through with the peace of mind that I have seen this coming and I know it is in God's plan for me. He will give me strength, and he will hold my hand the entire way.

So in more recent news, we are still working through a slew of adventures in Jerusalem - guest speakers, museums, exploration of the old (and the new) areas of Jerusalem...and what an incredible opportunity it has been so far! I am coming to terms with just how much I have learned over the course of this semester and it is mind-blowing. Jerusalem has been the icing on the cake of this semester's dessert that has definitely satisfied my cravings to travel and see what I thought I would never see in my lifetime.

Here are a few adventures (in photo form, of course) that have been breathtaking and beautiful...

Exploring the underground world in the Western Wall tunnels...

Soaking up the beauty in the Garden Tomb (Protestant site of Jesus' burial)

Tea break in our favorite shopping spot in the Old City (photo cred. to Annie)

To sum it all up, the final week has come, 
I can't slow it down or speed up home, and I am graciously taking every opportunity as it comes. 

I have grown so much this semester, and I mean that in every way. In my mental space, in my spiritual space, in my education, in my world views - you name it and I believe I have made progress one way or another in it. The key challenge now is processing all that I have learned and somehow placing it in a permanent spot in my internal shelf that will fit alongside the other permanent reads. Making sure I don't forget what I experienced while abroad and slowly molding it to fit into what I will become when I get back home.

Maybe it won't be more or less me molding what I learned here to fit myself at home, but molding myself in general to fit and adapt to what I've learned: meaning I am coming home a very different person. As much as that scares me, part of me knows it is for the better and I can't possibly do it any other way. So I will trust in God that the work he has planned for me this semester is almost accomplished, and I can return to America knowing it will not end there, but that I will be okay.

I am safe.
I am loved.
I am fine.

Respectfully submitted,