So when I left Seattle, pretty much an emotional mess, confused and heart broken beyond understanding, I wasn't expecting to find something so touching and caring when I arrived to my now home in Kabale. I was unpacking my million luggage's (well not really million, more like 12, but it just felt that way because when you travel for three days, you get really frustrated carrying so much), but back to what I was saying, lol! I was going through my things and I came upon a beautiful stack of cards and letters, wrapped in blue and green (SEAHAWKS, my fav football team, WOOHOO). Folks, I seriously broke down and cried because I love anything sentimental, and yes there is lots of sappiness in this bold gal ;). But the first thing on top was a beautiful note from this beautiful gal named Mandy Michaels, and in this note were instructions to how I was to proceed the opening of these cards and letters. Ok, to be honest the note said to open up only ONE when I was going through a rough time and that there are so many people back home loving me from afar, praying for me and rooting for the greatest. But I was going through such a rough time, I opened one and then another and then another and before I knew it, I opened all of them, hahahaha! As I look back at it now to almost three months ago, I laugh cry, but in those moments I needed to hear every single word that was written by so many of my dear friends back in Seattle. Mandy, Vanessa, Christine & Josh, Tom, Chris, Amber, Billie, Pastor Jennifer, Savannah, Daniel, Mary Lou, Leslye, Chris & Bob, Adrianne, Michelle, April, and those anonymous peeps, I want each of you to know that whenever I feel like I can't handle life and I need earthly encouragement, I go to these letters. They might seem like a small act from each of you, but they have tremendously blessed my life and continue to do so, so THANK YOU!! All the cards and letters were uniquely funny, and sad and full of love all at the same time.. weird when you think about it, but that's just how life is, right?! We get so caught up in the gritty work schedules and the 'do I fit in to this group' or 'am I sociably accepted' and so on, that we forget tending to those hurting around us. I here it so often, 'Lily, how did you get on a plane and move to Africa not even a week after losing your mom?' And in the beginning my answer was "because I have to". I felt like if I didn't leave then I would never do it. That "because I have to" is still my saving grace even today. I still have breakdowns and lose myself emotionally some days, but all those other days, which are majority, I do all I can to give back. Sometimes its as simple as hugging someone, or wiping a kids nose because he has mucus running into his mouth. Other days, like today, its going out in pajamas and giving the 10 kids in my little village yard candy, hugs, and toys. Pretty cool story today: this little 11 month old girl next door is teething and I had only one granola bar left, thank you Jenny for them, and I gave it to her so she could chew/suck on it. Funniest thing is that after I gave it to her, I threw the wrapper in the garbage and went back inside my house to finish cleaning. I get a knock at the door and it's my neighbor Angel, this little baby's mom, asking if she can have the wrapper. In my head I was thinking, shoot I have to go in the garbage to get it, but ok if she really wants it I'll get it for her. And so I tell Angel to wait, go get the dirty wrapper and then give it to her. I kid you not, she took it and was so happy and thankful I gave it to her. I asked why she wanted it and she said because she wanted to remember this moment, because she had taken a piece of the granola bar from her baby and she loved it so much. It just struck me that if we can get out of our mourning, out of our selfishness, out of our own heads and just genuinely want to make someones day a bit better, we can. What actually happens is that in our giving we wake up and realize there's more to life. In giving, we heal and learn to love and trust again. I'd love to crawl in a hole and hide away from the world sometimes, but I don't for the same reason I got on a plane and moved to Africa not even a week after my mom's death. I do it because it gives me purpose. It fulfills me to see others happy, regardless of whether they are less fortunate then me, or richer then me. I continue to push because I know life has to be more then just "for me". Life and all we go through is meant to be an encouragement and even a stepping stone for others. I don't write this asking for pity or praise, I write it because I see so much need that I get so overwhelmed and don't know how to help everyone here. I write this to try and wake people up to reality. Bust your 'I' bubbles and do something good and worthy for someone else, no matter where you're at in life. Love unconditionally, not because you have nothing better to do, but because you CHOOSE to do it. Cherish those around you, give a hug, a kiss, flowers, gifts and so on. Give while there is time and you have loved ones around you. Learn to leave blessings in the smallest of places, because someone will know, see and feel loved in immeasurable ways.
XOXO a sappy bold gal