From My Emily:
I haven’t written much about our trip.
Mostly because I’ve been living, in a richer and scarier way than ever before.
Not knowing where I’m going to be living next week is scary. Not knowing what might happen in the next three days is scary. Not knowing my surroundings is scary. Not knowing if my cell phone and wifi will work at my next temporary home is scary. Knowing I won’t hug my best friends for at least six months is scary. Knowing I won’t have a house when I enter the Lone Star State is scary.
I’ve traded those securities for a life full of things I will probably never get a chance to do or see again.
I have jumped in the current of a lake carved by lava thousands of years ago in Firehole Canyon, Wyoming. I have climbed a mountain (albeit it was a small one, but still!!). I have stood by with huge eyes as a buffalo walked five feet in front of me in Montana.I have seen purple lightning strike right next to a vivid rainbow in Wyoming's blood-red sky. I have laughed until I cried under the stars of Tennessee with my brother. I have seen an arm of the Milky Way in Wisconsin. I have seen the sun rise over Lake Michigan and swam in its freezing embrace. I have seen mud bubbling out of the earth’s belly and Old Faithful bursting out in astonishing glory in Yellowstone Park. Zip-lined through the Indiana woods, six feet off the ground as branches whipped my legs.
I have walked through the Creation Museum’s startlingly lifelike version of Eden, a place I have longed for and wondered about my entire life. Hiked through the wooded hills of Indiana. Watched the Nolichucky river rapids sweep over boulders like a crashing, mad stampede. Seen glaciers for the very first time in Montana. Slept under shooting stars in Washington. Bogged for crawdads in Montana. Ate at the original KFC. Stepped into Texan dinosaur footprints that dwarfed my size-10 foot. Seen moonlight shining through Arkansas’ fog. Eaten sweet wild mulberries right off a tree in both Indiana and Tennesee.
Walked over ground that Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of my heroes, regularly treaded on in De Smet, South Dakota. Screamed on roller coasters I was dragged on at the Mall of America. Ridden a horse (without assistance!) through a Tennessee wood. Driven just feet from the edge of a cliff in Glacier Park. Sat stone-still in the van as huge bighorn sheep rushed past us in the parking lot.
· that you never drink out of still water. Pick clear, quickly-moving water.
· that purification and lavender oil smell really good combined
· I don’t *need* Starbucks every week (now it’s much more of a treat than it ever was!)
· what reasonable propane costs are
· how to assemble a campground in less than a half hour
· fig bars go amazingly well with coffee
· hot showers are a luxury and not a necessity
how to elevate a camper
· how to set up five beds in ten minutes
· you don’t have to have a silent environment to write or work
you don’t NEED to download the new Skillet album the DAY it comes out
· baking soda and lavender draw out infection
· how to wash a full dishload by hand in 20 minutes (paper plates are my best friend!)
· and many, many other little tips and tricks I never would have had to learn outside of my current lifestyle.
Being cautious and careful with money is a new thing for me. Sure, I might have watched my account back home, but I also had three jobs that ensured I would always be comfortably topped off. Now, most of my money is either for things I actually NEED or an occasional treat. Imagine that!!
I feel as if I was in a comfortable, safe dream, and then was whisked away to a foreign and frightening world that was all the same beautiful and breathtaking, a world that very suddenly ripped off dross and revealed gorgeous gold beneath, however painful it was.
I’m still in the refiner’s fire and am still learning every day, like my brother learning how to walk. My legs are shaky and nervous, but I want to see what else is out there, and walk into the rest of God’s world I haven’t yet laid eyes on.
Emily, I'm so proud of you. I'm proud of the way you think of others. I'm proud of the way you have embraced change. I'm proud of the way you have chosen to see things through new eyes when you could have just chosen to bide your time until we got home. I'm proud of the growth and maturity I see in you. Phil 1:6 makes me think of you, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion in Christ Jesus."