There's this strange sensation I get when, in life, I'm coming up to something out-of-the-ordinary. Its almost like I'm just an observer of the moments passing by. My body goes through the motions, I think through and do what must be done, but it often feels almost surreal.
For example, when going on vacation, my mind starts lists. Lists of work to be done before I'm gone for a week, lists of things to buy, lists of things to pack. Lists of things to wash, snacks to pick up, projects to complete. These lists don't stop growing as i do them either. Its usually about the day or two before leaving that I finally finish making lists; sometimes I have completed them by that time too, if I'm lucky.
But the whole count down is in this strange slow-fast motion type pace. It feels simultaneously as if it will never come, and as though there cannot possibly be enough time to get done all the things that need doing.
Then, suddenly, its the night before. Everything is packed, bought, prepared, thought through. I go through the motions: suitcase, backpack, water bottle, keys by the door. Oh, and shoes. And a sweatshirt, just in case. I get ready for bed, double-checking that everything at home is cleaned up, in its place. It takes what seems like forever, but I finally fall asleep.
In the morning, I do what needs doing. I get ready, I eat breakfast, drink some coffee. Pack the car. If I'm working before heading out, the day is always surreal as well. Tying up loose ends: those known and unknown. And then it happens. I'm off. I'm free.
I try to be mentally present wherever I am. I try to thoroughly enjoy my time - whether alone, or with friends or family. I create fond memories, escape into books, take walks, listen to music, take pictures, listen to music, admire God's amazing creation. If its not just vacation, i pour myself into the tasks at hand joyfully and always am blessed with the company, the work, and those served.
All too soon, I am heading home. Once there I sleep and do laundry and try to be ready for "normal" when it comes again the next day. Inevitably, about midway through the normal routine that week back, I realize that I feel almost like the adventure happened to someone else - like i just read about it, a character in a book, instead of my own experiences. I have memories, pictures, journal entries that prove otherwise, but it feels like a story.
I don't understand that.
This morning, I will be at my church at 4:15 am to leave with a youth missions trip (I'm a leader...) for Jamaica. We'll be there for 8 days. We have some ideas about what we may do there but have also been advised to expect "nothing but for God to work through us," and "organized chaos."
The only big thing I'm really nervous about is the people I'm going with that I don't know. There are 30 of us - and 4 leaders. I know the other 3 leaders. Now, of course, I've met most of the students. A few are very talkative and sweet, and all are very welcoming. I know in my head that it'll be great, and we'll all get to know each other. But I guess I find it a little odd that this is my biggest concern. Of course, I've been praying for all aspects of the trip: safety, travel, God to move, unity, etc., but none of those things are weighing on me. I know God is and will be faithful to us in these regards. And of course, I know He'll carry my little introverted and shy self through and bring me out with new and deepened friendships, but there you go. My own personal prayer request for the next 9 days.
In just a few hours, I'll be boarding the first plane of the day. I sort of hate very much taking off and landing - though I've never had a really bad experience. By the end of the day, I'll be in a country I've never been in before, starting a new experience in my service to God.
I am nervous about a few things, but mostly (and most importantly), I am excited. I know God has brought me to this and made it all possible for me to go. All praise and glory to Him.
I can't wait to see what He does.