I’ve spent a substantial amount of time trying to figure out what to make of everything that happened; or perhaps more precisely, in light of what happened, what am I going to do now? Sure, I returned home to Seattle, went back to work, and have even told my story (hence you reading this). In a bigger sense, I ask myself what am I being called to do. Is it different than what I’m doing now? This, of course, has various theological implications about what a calling is and how one discerns God’s will.
The problem with mission trips, and really anything else that thrusts a person into atypical situations is that it exposes you to what looks like the greener side of the fence without showing you all the weeds. The typical reaction to this feeling, I think, is to change everything in ones life all at once; there’s a huge push to become a better person, but at what expense? My approach has been one of timid toe-dipping: make small course corrections now, nothing that will list the ship. It doesn’t seem like much now, but in one year (or five, or ten) the trajectory change will be substantially noticeable.
I still have more growing to do.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I was going to process everything. I would have just liked to have sit in quiet meditation for a couple of days, but I’ve never been one to sit still for very long and my responsibilities in the real world were calling me.
I spent several hours (over twelve) editing the photos and probably another five or six hours writing (and linking photos). I really wanted to avoid a telling a serialized string of events, so I stuck to recalling events that stood out in my mind, even if that meant skipping over some things. My goal is that I could use the picture to compliment and supplement what I wrote1, and in that regard, I hope I was successful in telling, more or less, the entire story.
I also wanted to avoid having this be all about the earthquake. This has probably been the most difficult issue to deal with. Initially, I felt like a survivor without a disaster. But as the shock of the entire situation has warn off, I find myself wonder what our status really was. Were we evacuees of a natural disaster? What sort of danger were we really in? I’ve tried to push myself to tell a fair story, but it’s a tricky balance.
If you were to ask me to sum up my experience in one sentence, it would be this: Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city2.