I feel compelled to write this now even though perhaps last week I resigned to keep this a more private thought. Now that I am at Stony Point, New York with my fellow YAVs going around the US and around the world I realize that many YAVs echo my feelings and resonate with my experience. So as much as that has helped our bonding, I feel it is almost a responsibility to share my feelings that I’ve been wresting with the past week.
Last Friday I called a friend and proceeded to ugly cry about a realization I’d made. I was leaving in only three days! Why did I realize this so late? I realized that the feelings I couldn’t name were that I couldn’t believe I was leaving what I had.
When I had decided to apply for the YAV program I felt stuck in my life. I decided to do what I had been putting off because of my student loans (and a few other life situations) which was to travel abroad to do service work. In the same moments of feeling stuck I also decided to abandon my thoughts of getting jobs that focused on my career and just do things to pay the bills, and to just take a chance on not having a plan. All of these decisions were good decisions. Over the next months my life became full. I felt a sense of purpose in my coming YAV year which gave me freedom to pursue hobbies and spend time with friends and really build a strong community. I was in a fulfilling relationship and had a chance to travel with people I love. I had adventure and eventually financial stability. I had a variety of life experiences from driving for Uber to working at a day care, and finally working as a file clerk at an insurance company. Each of these were fulfilling and exciting, and in my free time I spent travelling and having deep loving conversations with my dear friends. I was asked by two of my best friends (who are marrying each other) to be their Maid of Honor who will also be putting off their wedding so I can attend. On top of this I’ve had the chance to be a part of my nephews and neice’s life, as well as the life of one of my friend’s little girl. I had purpose, I had community, I had close friends. Many things I haven’t always had. Life was good.
Now here I was looking at my decisions in horror. What did I do? I am at the cusp of giving up all that I’ve gained for the one other decision that I made in the midst of it all. I’m going to Korea. More importantly though I’m leaving everyone behind. I won’t be with them for an entire year. Where was that stagnant life I was moving beyond? Why did I do this?! I’ve made a mistake.
Honestly, leaving home I was filled with fear. Fear of the unknown, and the fear of missing out on the lives of people who matter to me. Fear of having given up a life that I love and that loves me back.
But I still left. And so did everyone here with me now. I can’t ignore that I felt called to come here at some point. I made a commitment and I desire to fulfill it. In the same way I feel that love is a commitment and not necessarily something we feel all the time. Sometimes we hate people we love, but because we love them we don’t act on that feeling. Sometimes we just don’t feel excited when we’re called.
And while relationships don’t stay the same over time, I have faith that those who really love me will still love me when I get back. I know this year is a huge blessing for me. Even these last couple days have been enriching. While I still miss my bed and my family, I’ll try to put that aside to make room for the year ahead. My God has loved me enough to give me a life I am sad to leave. I’m trusting him to take care of what’s to come.
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