Goals, dreams, resolutions, aspirations, hopes, desires, wants, wishes, there are so many words for what we want to accomplish, yet so many times we fall short.
I admit I have fallen victim to the ‘great idea but lack the follow through,’ syndrome. I think my friends didn’t truly believe I was going to Afghanistan until my ballet flats hit the ground. Then they knew I followed through, and it was real. When I lived as a nanny in Raleigh right after college, I had a new idea every day which included, but was not limited to: stewardess, Americorps, living on a Native American reservation out west, Peace Corps, masters in education, and nanny in France.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my life lately. I am more than half way through my time here (if I don’t extend) and what am I going to do next? It’s a question that I get asked almost every day. My answer is still I have no idea!
There is an AMAZING book titled, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I try to read a lot, and it is literally the best book I have read in years! In it the author, Donald Miller, discusses creating a story for your life. He talks about his friend whose daughter had a bad boyfriend and was into drugs and Miller responded, “Well sounds like she’s not living a good story.” The father then realized he needed to provide his daughter with an alternate story. He came up with the idea to have their family build an orphanage in a poor country. He researched it and was enthusiastic about it and quickly his daughter was too. That story became her story and she quickly forgot her old story all on her own.
“People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.” - Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
We all have stories to tell and I know my time in Afghanistan is a fun and exciting one. I just sometimes worry about what comes next in my story. I was explaining this to one of my soldier friends, Aaron. I said, What if I go back to the states and I’m boring? His quick response was, “Who said you’re not boring here?” Hilarious…and point made.
“I wondered about the story we were writing and wanted even more to write a better story for myself, something that leaves a beautiful feeling even as the credits roll.” - Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
After my time in Africa, I decided I want to visit all 7 continents by the time I’m 30. I’m already more than half way there! I have North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, just Australia and South America to bust out…oh and then there’s that pesky Antarctica. That will be difficult. I loved experiencing the completely different culture and interacting with the people, it was intoxicating! My mom’s cousin, Bobbi, has visited all 7 continents. I visited her before I went on my cruise in December with my family and I could not get enough of her stories!
I also just began Day 2 of my training for a marathon. Since I have moved to Afghanistan, I work out more than I have in the past 25 years combined. With not much else for distraction, it’s a nice outlet for stress. I want to run the Soldier Marathon in November in Fort Benning, Georgia. Daren’s brother, Miles, would like to get a team together to run in memory of him. I don’t even know what continent I’ll be on in November, but I want to run this race. It gives me something proactive to do, some action to take, to honor him.
The only time I have run a race was a 5K last year with the entire side of my mom’s family. We were the SWATT Team: Sprinters, Walkers And Trash Talkers. Although I was none of those, I was more the jog enthusiastically until about ¾ of the way through then feel like you’re going to heave but keep on smiling as you go at a pace that could just pass for jogging but barely more than speed walking (it’s all in the quick deceiving movements of the arms people) and pass the finish line. And yes, I want to run a marathon, not a 5K, not a half, but a full marathon. My sister Gretchen also known as my other half, my role model, my everything, ran the Marine Corps Marathon last year. As was always the motivating factor when I was younger, if she can do it, I can do it! (She still jokes that the whole reason I came to Afghanistan was just to “out do” her living in Costa Rica). I even asked her to run with me, and she said she’s in! So half way across the world we’re going to be training together!
|Me and Gretchen before the big race|
“The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.” - Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years