Jun 7, 2011

Who Am I and Where Am I Going?

Two Important Questions to Ask in Life

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
So as I’ve been writing these catch-up blogs explaining my life over the last several months, I’ve been here at my Auburn home. I haven’t been working, I haven’t been taking classes—I’ve just been…here.

And as I’ve been sitting around I’ve found myself thinking about the future and reflecting about the past. Sometimes my thoughts are joyful, sometimes mournful. Sometimes they’re full of  fear, sometimes frustration, sometimes peace, sometimes weariness, and sometimes awe. And oftentimes I toss myself on the couch, click the remote, and try to keep my brain from thinking and my heart from feeling. I’m ashamed to say I try to escape much more than I’d like.

So here in my possibly-final-though-I’m-not-going-to-officially-call-it-that blog, I thought I’d just toss out some of my thoughts to get them out in the open and be honest about what’s going on in my life.

I regret a lot of things about this last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve LOVED this year and I've gotten to experience so many amazing things. But there’s plenty that happened or didn’t happen that I wish I could change. I’ve never really been like that before. Regretful, I mean. It’s sort of a new phenomenon for me and I’m not quite sure how to handle it. Perhaps it’s because of that six-month timeline.

From about the second week that I arrived in the Philippines, I started to think about that last day I was going to have in the Philippines, and I knew it was going to be at my doorstep in the blink of an eye. The whole time I was there, I felt like I was racing the clock, trying to get in as much living as I could there. I knew that time, that place, that experience wasn’t something I could get back—I had to make the absolute most of it. But, as frequently happens, I set my hopes and wants a mite high, and so here I am, sitting on the other side of that segment in my timeline, knowing that that time is gone forever, still filled with unmet hopes and wants.

I wanted to see Evelyn get baptized. I wanted better relationships with my fellow SMs. I wanted to sit inside the giant shell and watch the stars turn into the sunrise. I wanted to ride a carabao. I wanted to become better friends with the guy AYs. I wanted to complete the one remaining study in my fundamental beliefs Bible study with Carina. I wanted to see Anuplig falls. I wanted to snorkel in Blue Lagoon one last time. I wanted to pray in Ilokano. I wanted to see where Nieves was staying. I wanted to walk down to the Bangi windmills.

Ugh, I sound so whiny. But it’s true.

I guess it’s really hitting me because I keep looking at my experience there as a once in a lifetime opportunity. And yes, in a way it was. But when I wiggle my perspective a bit, I can see that it wasn’t necessarily a one-time thing. Who’s to say I won’t live and work in Pagudpud again? Who’s to say I won’t have other similar experiences in other places? I certainly have no authority to say such a thing!

Truth be told, I am very seriously considering entering cross-cultural ministry full time once I graduate.

But even if I don’t, even if I stick around America for the rest of my life, it doesn’t mean I have to forever be mopey and wistful about a brief period of my young adult life. (And yes, I would consider myself to have fallen into the mopey and wistful category this last month) Life is for LIVING!

As I was in the process of leaving Pagudpud, it felt like this was one of the last chapters of my life on earth. I don’t know why, but it felt like I’d go back home, stick around a couple months, and then I’d reach “the end.” But that’s not how life is shaping up at all. It took me a while after I got back to the states, but eventually the complete reality dawned on me that I need to keep going—that I’ve got classes to take, jobs to find, bills to pay. All those little details are alive and well and need some attention, and it wouldn’t be wise for me to pretend they don’t exist and instead sit around waiting for the end of the world. Maybe Jesus is fixing to return next Thursday, but I have to prepare for next Friday in case we’re all still here then and my account doesn't balance. I’ve got to keep going on with life and figuring out what that means exactly. Pagudpud was a stepping stone, not the end of the line. And where and how I step next is up to my Father and I.

A while ago I wrote about my Filipino alter ego. I loved being that person. But she’s not still across the sea; she’s sitting right here, typing this blog, hiding, perhaps, inside a weary and apathetic exterior. So what’s the difference between Pagudpud Katelyn and Auburn Katelyn? Choice. Pagudpud Katelyn could have just as easily chosen to be weary and apathetic, just as easily as Auburn Katelyn. And get this.

Auburn Katelyn can choose to be just as bold, friendly, and adventurous as Pagudpud Katelyn.

Yes, life in America brings about different nuances to which adjustments need to be made. But the core of how my life experiences shape up depends on how I choose to be.

I choose to let Pagudpud Katelyn live on, growing more and more into the even more amazing Katelyn I was originally created to be. That’s who I want to be. That’s who I am.

Wherever I go from here, that's who I am.