I can see it, clearly as ever; its one of those memories where I can still feel the warmth of the day, see the dust on my skin, taste the unique flavors of the village, and hear the song that had been humming about in my head.
“The Beauty of Simplicity”, the lyrics echoed through my body as I watched and shared in village life along the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. I grabbed my journal and I began to pen the words in ink, and in the process the words gave way to a picture which had been woven into my heart. A small cottage, a plot of land, a bountiful garden, a field of wildflowers, and a piano.
I had no idea what this all meant for me, but I knew it resonated deeply within my sprit.
After leaving Africa, I spent a month in Thailand alongside an organization that works to reach, rescue, and restore women involved in sex trafficking. I was 21 years old. I had never been to a bar. I had never heard of sex trafficking. I had no ideas or expectations for Thailand.
Such innocence and naivety were soon lost.
I can feel the fire on my cheeks, and the tightening of my chest as I struggled for air. I can see her face, her 13 year old face. And I can see his silhouette, his tall western build. I can feel my trembling hands as I tried to write the words in my tear stained journal. “WHY!?”.
For years I’ve questioned how my past experiences were meant to connect to my present purpose. I imagined it to be more linear, but as my story seems to go, linear sminear—l walk the meanderers course and perpetually make peace with each hindsight connection.
And so, as hindsight goes, I’m finally beginning to see how my experience in Thailand has shaped my views on ALL human slavery. And my time in Mozambique has equipped me with the vision and heart to live simply, not taking from another person’s freedom for my own comfort.
I’m learning the transcendent value of long established roots, twelve years deep and only now beginning to surface. I might have preferred a more immediate understanding of such life experiences, but it stands to reason that time is often our greatest teacher; even painfully so.
It’s been a long [non-linear] road to where we are; risks, regret, course changes, triumphs, hopes, disappointments, faith upon faith upon faith. And now we’re here, somewhere in the middle our story with less stuff, fresh eyes, and a “why” that finally extends beyond our own glory.
We are learning what it is to be good stewards, using what we have, working with our hands, and discovering the hidden beauty of a quiet life.
I am overcome by the degree of gratitude that fills my heart for what has been learned, and what is yet to unfold.