Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Like a Sea Star

Alright, here it goes.

I've written a half dozen different blog posts in the past six months, but have never posted them.

My life went from new discoveries every day, to being dramatically less exciting within moments. By mid-July, I longed to just rest my head on the same pillow for more than two nights in a row. While on the one hand I thrilled in the new adventures, a large part of me longed for the comforts of something that was familiar. Once I was back in the US, I began to realize that the things that I though were so familiar, seemed foreign to me.

How many times had I dreamed of being able to get whatever I wanted at the grocery store, just to get there and stand in confusion for 30 minutes because of the mass variety of products available. There's a whole isle of different kinds of peanut butter! An entire grocery store in Ibadan can fit inside the produce section in any given store in the US.

Part of my struggle with adjusting back to the US was the sudden lack of purpose. I came back without a job in line. I moved to a new city where I hardly knew anyone, and at first, I thought it was the most wonderful thing. After traveling for a month straight, and being swamped with grading, lesson planning, and school for months before that, the quite and solitude felt amazing.

We are not meant to live like this though. Everyone needs a drive to keep them going and I didn't know what that was. I had given four years of my life to teaching, only to confirm that that wasn't where my dreams lie.

On top of all of that, for a time, I didn't even know HOW  or WHERE to get out and do anything. I felt glued to my sofa. I'd been living confined in a compound without the freedom to wander around at will. Once I had complete freedom, I didn't even know what to do with it. Where would I go? I didn't know anyone, what could I do?

One evening, I was tired of sitting on the couch, so I decided, no more of this! For the first time in months, I got up and went somewhere by myself! I took a walk along the beach at sunset, and it was amazing. I had been living in a place with so much pollution and smog that you could never see a truly colorful sunset. Here, however, I was surrounded by beauty beyond description. It stirred something within me, I would no longer be content with letting my life pass by me as I curled up in my safe cocoon!

Last week, I was walking along the beach and came across several star fish stranded on the beach. One of them was in the surf. Wave after wave washed over him. All he had to do was let go, and he would be free to be washed in the waves and back in the ocean.

I realized that I've been a lot like this. I've been afraid to let go of the things that I thought were keeping me on solid ground. I thought the occasional waves washing over me were enough to give me life, but when I let go, I found that there was a whole ocean that I was missing!

So if you wonder why I haven't blogged, well I've been in hibernation. I've turned a new chapter in my life and have exciting things in store!

In the beginning you were singing 
In the end you'll still be singing over me 
In this moment you're right beside me 
You're everywhere, you're in the air that I breathe 

You are an endless ocean, a bottomless sea 

In my sin you kept loving 
There's no end to your forgiveness and mercy 
Every morning you keep coming 
The waves of your affection keep washing over me 

You are an endless ocean, a bottomless sea

Jonathan David Helser