Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Learning to Touch the World (a shout out of sorts to my alma mater)
Hmm...it appears that I have not blogged in oh, 6 months. Yikes! I went from sometimes writing multiple times in a day to nothing in 6 months! This is the normal life cycle of any blog, diary, journal or anything other name you can give non-required writings of whatever subject matter enters my brain. I love to write, thus I get excited to write and spend a lot of time doing so. Inevitably life gets busy and suddenly I find myself without time for such indulgences as writing. The journal I started when I left for Belize is another example, although that little book has more pages filled than any other of its kind in my life. Still, the latter writings are intermittent and random, ranging in content from personal bible studies to chronicles of our honeymoon to Costa Rica. Which, now that I think about it, never was completed. I believe I stopped jotting down the list of happenings after we left Playa Negra and headed to La Fortuna. Perhaps I'll finish before the memories fade.
Isn't that the point of journaling? So one can go back and fondly reminisce over past events? No, in my experience the content of journals often becomes dated and full of not-so-fond happenings. Not always, but often enough. When I was a kid, I would start a journal or a diary full of my thoughts, and after a few weeks I'd tear out all the pages on which I had written and burn them. (We can talk about my pyromania another day....).
But I digress. I didn't intend to write about writing. I guess I'm justifying the "gap" like anyone was losing sleep over it. *sigh*
Now then. Learning to touch the world. This is/was the motto of the College of St. Scholastica, where I attended college and grad school. Six short years of learning and growing in my own mind. It's funny that I attended a Catholic college, yet it wasn't until about two years after graduation that I started to really grow in my faith. Anyway, billboards, banners, postcards, and any other publication the school put out featured those words, "Learning to Touch the World." To me it was a nice concise version of the school's mission and vision. That all students would not only learn what is necessary to get a degree, but to put it to use to impact our world. It sounds good, it attracts students, it makes parents feel good about the tuition checks they are writing or students feel good about the ridiculous student loans they are incurring to get that degree. Me, I never felt any strong push to get out and touch the world. I felt a push to make an impact within my little world of Physical Therapy. I wanted to be awesome, I wanted people to think, no, to know that I'm awesome. And I wanted to make a lot of money.
Well, I probably should have thought about that whole money thing before I a) went to private school funded by scholarships and later entirely by student loans and b) decided to be a physical therapist. Apparently this field is notorious for having really high education costs that are disproportionate to annual salary. That's not to say I regret it. I love my job. But if wanted to make a lot of money, I should have gone to medical school.
As it turns out, this whole "learning to touch the world" thing had much more impact on me than I realized. I can touch the world, but not by just becoming a well-known amazing therapist like I always wanted. Rather, my draw to touch the world led by my relationship with Christ. That means that every day when I go to work, when I'm driving to work, when I go grocery shopping, when I volunteer in college ministry, when I go on mission trips, when I run a marathon (sorry, half marathon...), when I visit my family, when I get married.....EVERYTHING I do can touch the world. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength....(Philippians 4:13), and everything I do can be used by God to be a light in the lives of each person with whom I interact. I may never see the impact or result. But as I look back at the little seeds that others planted in my heart in the 25 years before I was saved, I am hopeful that my life has planted at least one of those seeds for someone else.
Living this way changes everything. And for me it all started to change last October and through my mission trip to Belize and the months following. I feel less selfish. I feel less of a sense of entitlement. I think about what I've been given and I am thankful. I want to give to others. I want to give my time, talents, abilities to others. I want to touch the world.
Now in that, I am realizing (greatly due to the insights of my wonderful husband) that it is easy to lose myself in trying to live for others. I don't think God wants that either. So in the bustle of going to work, making a home with my husband, serving in ministry, being a friend, and everything in between, I am going to make a point daily to do something that is purely Amanda. So that when I do go out to touch the world, I am a whole person. So I will play guitar, read a book, read the bible, write, run, hike, yoga, sleep, paint, watch a movie, get a pedicure or do whatever thing that day that will rejuvenate me. Ultimately that will allow me to be better equipped to be there for others. I'm living my life with everything and giving everything to God. It's the least I can do, right?