I was 16 years old and never been more than an hour's drive from Lake Michigan. I had just woken up in Ecuador after my first ever plane ride. I was simply not prepared for what I saw next.
Mountains. Everywhere. In this moment, 28 years later, my heart still leaps at the thought of being surrounded by mountains on that perfect morning. How lucky was I? I was in a completely different culture, surrounded by natural beauty that I had never seen. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face.
Our stated purpose on our trip was to serve the Ecuadorians who were poor and in need. There was no doubt that the financial need was great. On the other hand, I had never met individuals as happy as the men, women, and children who I met in circumstances far worse than anywhere in the US.
The total impact on my life was huge. As a 17 year old HS student, I vowed to become a missionary doctor and bring medical care and a religious message back to Latin America. This is what I thought I should do and in the language that I used a the time—it was what I thought God was calling me to do.
It didn’t happen. Life had very different plans.
What did happen is that the career and life I eventually ended up with has more to do with what I was taught by them than what I was going to teach them.
- Choose happiness regardless of circumstances
- Choose community
- Honor the natural world as a partner
- Discover the fullness of our spiritual dimensions
It isn't much of a surprise then, that today I sit in Guatemala for a month-long trip continuing in my Spanish learning as well as a gaining a deeper understanding of a culture that has so much to teach me.
How about you? I wonder what experience from your young adulthood mattered to the rest of your life? Looking at the totality of your life in this moment--what connections can you make to that version of yourself? What do you want to recapture? What do you need to put on your agenda?