Before you read this post, check out Part Two: No.
Celeste came and sat next to me on the bench, showing me the pictures she had taken around the island. I saw her face, full of wonder. Celeste was my roommate at the hotel in Savusavu, the small resort town we stayed in on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2016 before arriving in the village. We had a class together last spring, but didn’t know much about each other before traveling together.
I was fearful of being vulnerable with others, to let people see the ugly. I swallowed the last of my tears and wiped the sad snots from my nose, and tried to say something intelligent about why I was sitting alone. I couldn’t.
Celeste saw the best of me at the beginning of the trip–excited and anxious eyes illuminated by the possibilities. She now saw me at my worst, but she assured me that I was not being a baby nor unreasonable.
“We won’t be here for much longer,” she said.
She had intervened at the perfect time.
As I was writing this, I had just read about Jesus with the twelve disciples after he explains the parable of the sower. Again, I am still in awe that these men stuck around with Jesus for so long. He never tried to save face–as in protecting the reputation others expected of him–but always did the will of his Father. But the disciples didn’t always know him as the Son of God.
Mark 4 beginning at verse 35: On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
I was worn out trying to save face that week, and it challenged me to step outside of myself.
This self was one that lived by her calendar, tried to be perfect, and wanted to do everything and be everything to everyone, and expected the same of others even though I would never admit it.
I gave up those expectations, and entered the eye of the storm, a newfound place of indescribable peace.
We walked down the steps to the pizza oven out on the deck, where I could hear the music. A few guitars and ukeleles accompanied the loud, gentle voices. I entered the circle on the mat, and I listened intently. Our group left the island just a few minutes later, one boat after the other. We began our trek home just as the stars began to peek through the darkness.
I smiled, though no one could see it.
Continue reading Part Four: Love.