Fourteenth Day – What This Experience Has Taught Me
- I may never fully realize all the ways this trip has changed me
- … What I do realize is even more than I had expected
Well, I’m on the plane again. Headed home this time… and it’s raining – again. We’re taxiing, the security announcements are going, and everything seems so incredibly normal. But it isn’t, not really. So many things were an unexpected shock – the AC in the airport, hearing Southern accents from the guys in line ahead of me, carpet on the plane… weird.
The disconnect I felt on my way out here, overhearing all the vacation plans of those around me, was even stronger waiting for this flight home. There I was, relishing the time of just sitting in an air-conditioned location with no demands being made of me, and all around the chattering of “Oh, I went here & did this & omg the beach…” I had this completely irrational urge to shake them – to impress on them how much they have, how they should appreciate it & share it, not act like life is one big party.
But of course they have every right to enjoy their vacation. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating and living life. It’s the balance that’s the key… Finding the area between selfish & selfless – and making the decision every day to live there. To make your home there!
We’re above the storm now – grey, rain-filled skies have been replaced with bright sun & puffy clouds. There’s got to be a metaphor in there somewhere… perhaps I’ll find it after a great shower and some real coffee. That sounds plausible.
In less than three hours I’ll be home, and the one word that fills my mind more than any other is Gratitude. I have found a whole new level of appreciation for the life I lead, the things I have, and the people I have in my life to share it all with. I am blessed – no matter that some months the bills barely get paid, or that my phone is falling apart, or that my car has no AC & a busted windshield. I’m lucky to have them… every single thing is a joy.
And the things that I already loved & appreciated? They are now more precious to me than I could have ever guessed. Treasures without price… irreplaceable. All of it just fills me with gratitude.
I think of all the petty squabbles we have – either we’re a part of or we see around us – and how important they can sometimes seem. But they’re not. Not at all. And I, for one, will be making a concerted effort to not participate in the juvenile bickering… not that I ever really did, but sometimes everyone slips up and lets the stupid take over.
I had a lot of fun on this trip, and picked up some cool souvenirs… but I think one of the most meaningful I got at the airport just before leaving. It’s a little map of Belize on parchment paper – not fancy, not big, only a couple of colors – but I’m going to get it framed, and I’m determined to remember to be grateful every time I see it… no matter what kind of day I’m having.
I am bruised, battered, bug-bitten, busted & beat. I have been kicked, yelled-at, bitten, shoved, hit & ignored. … But I have also been rewarded – so very rewarded – by play-time, singing, smiles, friendships, dance parties, and wonderful, blissful hugs.
Am I glad I went? A thousand times yes. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience. Would I go back? Honestly, I don’t know. I believe I want to do other trips like this – take time ‘giving back’ and trying to do some good – but I really believe I’d rather do it with somebody. For everything I’ve gained, and everything I’ve learned, it has been rather lonely. And that, at least, I don’t care for. But with someone else? Another place doing other work? That is something I could see happening. It’s just really hard to say at this precise moment… I’m so eager to be home!!
The other day, as I was getting my breakfast at the little shop before heading to San Pedro, I noticed a saying the owner had put up on the wall. It struck me as perfectly appropriate, so I wrote it down:
Cherish the Past,
Live for Today,
Dream for Tomorrow
… and that is precisely what I intend to do.