So soon.In seventeen short days, I’ll return to that vast land whose name evokes memories of late night adventures and soul laughter and life at its fullest. I can’t wait to breathe deep the smells of cigarette smoke, late-night bonfires, hot tea, and incense. I can’t wait to hear again the constant dance of the Russian tongue, consonantal waltzes in my ears. I can’t wait for the challenge of moving past, beyond the shyness, the foreign identity, to grab hold of life in this language that He’s taught me to love. To step into heels and paint my hair dark and become the girl Nadia for a summer.
I know I will be challenged, faced with the choice of either withdrawing into myself or fighting to live outwardly and to make the most of every opportunity. The first choice is easier, but stale, bland. The second choice is worth the exhaustion, the frustration, the awkwardness, the embarrassment. May I not forget that it is all worth it.
When I have the choice of initiating conversation or retreating to my room, I will fight the inner voices of fear of imposition, of approval-craving, of not wanting to rock the boat, remembering that it is worth it.
When faced with a need, a question, a confusion, I will risk embarrassment, I will risk being misunderstood, I will risk receiving a penetrating glare coupled with a scowl, because it is worth it.
I will attend to my work, but I will not allow the ironic loss of learning that comes from a misplaced gaze on the books instead of the people, on grammatical structures instead of living language.
I will give myself over to the joy in these people, in this place, that God lit in me that 12-year-old summer 9 long, fairy-tale years ago.
And I will keep my eyes on Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, counting challenges as joy, failures as harbingers of growth, and trials as a chance to delve deeper into His arms.
It is all worth it.
All glory to Him, my Joy, my Rock, my Savior.