There are some stories from the World Race that I haven’t told.
Some are because no one has asked about them, and they’re too close to my heart for me to share unless you really want to know.
Two I’ll never tell because I don’t like them and they didn’t have an impact on my Race to the point where they need to be told.
And a few, I’m keeping for myself and the people I lived them with, because they’re beautiful and I think that they’d lose some of that beauty every time I shared it with someone new.
But these are a few that I’ve told to few people or none. I always meant to write about them, and this is me getting around to it. It’s about time, as I got home eight months ago yesterday.
Most are happy. Some are sad. They’re listed in no particular order of importance.
1. One night in Thailand, we had just finished super feedback. Casey and Whitney were in the living room and Courtney and Tina were in our bedroom, all having serious conversations, and Lizzy and Jess were out on the porch setting something on fire. I can’t remember what it was or why they were burning it, but that’s what they were doing. So I went in the kitchen by myself to put peanut butter on my Oreos and eat them with Jesus. And I sat there and ate them and was so happy with everything that we’d all shared in the past two hours and everything that was happening right now, and laughing to Jesus at how the most extroverted person on the team was the only one in the house who was alone, and I was thanking him for Jif peanut butter because this was the first country in which I’d eaten it.
Then Lizzy came in and said I looked happy, and I probably bounced a little in my chair as I said “Because I AM!!” Then I told her everything I’d just been thinking about(because whenever I’m alone for a little while, I recap my thoughts to the first person I see. This is my E at its finest) and then I offered her an Oreo and she said no at first because she was trying to be good but that she’d sit with me while I ate. After a minute she said she had to have one because it’s impossible to not be happy about things I’m that happy about, so we ate them together and it made me happier.
Then Jess joined us and eventually the other two pairs made their way in, and I looked at them all and loudly proclaimed “I just LOVE yall” and probably got up and hugged all of them.
2. When we first got to Swaziland, my team was living with one other team in a little house on a hill. It overlooked this big valley and there was a long road that we could run on every morning, and our next door neighbor had a 50-year-old pig(it was really that old)that was six feet long and huge, and we had the most beautiful sunrises in our backyard and if we walked a ways we could see the most beautiful sunsets over another big valley. We ate dinner on the living room floor every night after cooking it in our tiny kitchen which we’d have to chase chickens out of every few minutes, and we played card games all the time, and one morning I woke up and there was a cow on our front porch and I felt like I was living in a Chick-fil-A commercial.
Then they suddenly told us that our team would be moving an hour drive away to live in a hut and work at a whole different ministry. It was awful.
The morning we were leaving was a Sunday. I woke up before everybody and slipped out on our back porch by myself to watch one more sunrise. I cried and cried and the chickens came and pecked at my feet and that made me laugh but not feel better.
God didn’t tell me to cheer up, or say anything about why he was making things change or what good things might happen in our new place. He just sat there with me and let me cry, and it felt so right to be so sad. I knew everything would be fine, but I also knew that this was my favorite place I’d lived, and we were living with a lot of people I hadn’t spent much time with and I’d loved getting to have fun with them and now that was over, and I just wanted to be sad about it. And God knew that because he knows me, and he just let me be sad, but not alone.
That sounds like a sad story, but it’s one of my favorites because it was a sweet moment with just God(well, him and the chickens). I usually want company when I’m upset, but I was so glad no one found me that day. The sun finished rising and I finished crying and the chickens ran off to do chicken things, and I went inside to hug everyone good morning and walk the two miles to church together for the last time, and no one needed to know how I was feeling, because I’d felt it with God and that was enough.
3. I just looked through my drafts on my World Race blog to find more stories…and decided the one about the lanterns needs to be a full post. It deserves so much more than a paragraph at the end of a post that’s already over 900 words.
So, lanterns. Hold that thought. It’s coming soon. It’s so good I’d almost forgotten it.