Sunday, October 5, 2008

If I had never gone

As people ask, "So how was Cambodia?" I find my answers getting a little more light hearted. It wasn't any less hard, but I am less anxious because I realize I am not there now. Now I can move on with what I've learned.

I could easily list 10 things that have been negative changes in me the last year, but that's too easy. A good friend asked me recently, "What would you be like if you'd never gone to Cambodia?"

If I had never gone to Cambodia I'd still be secretly living with this eating disorder. I might still be struggling alone, hiding the ugly side of me I was so ashamed to admit to. Now, there is hardly anyone in my life that doesn't know about my struggles. I am more human to the people in my life now. I recommend going halfway around the world to anyone who wants to reveal a secret. If you do it through a blog, you never have to actually say it to anyone's face and deal with their reactions. No, bad advice. Still, it worked for me. I am better supported and understood.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I wouldn't have the friends I do now. I actually gained friends by flying away from them. Once there was distance I was better able to see my true friends who would stay in touch, as well as make new friends. New people came into my life via email as we got to meet each other. It has been so nice to actually start a friendship honestly, knowing each other's faults, so, that aside, we could actually connect and hear each other.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I might still be on the Christian placebo I'd been taking most of my life. It's not that I've never had a spiritual experience and it was all fake, it was just different. The struggles and situations are different now. I've been tested and forced to challenge a lot of ideas I've held as true. I ask a lot more questions about apparent "truths". I may have come to the same conclusions eventually, but being isolated in Cambodia sure sped up that whole process.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I doubt my students would be sitting in the new school building that they are now. CAS moved into the new school that was waiting to be finished because of a huge lack of funds. Friends and family from home stepped up in big ways and helped me raise over $8,000.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I'd be a junior in college, who sat through another year of classes not knowing what I wanted to do. I never would have felt, seen, smelled and experienced another side of the world. It sounds vague, but just having gone makes my worldview much bigger. I see now how my actions directly affect the rest of the world. I better understand how America is viewed by the rest of the world and am both proud and disgusted depending on the subject. I am grateful for my education, opportunities, and community. I am pained by our media, our morals, and our individualist approach to life.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I would have no idea how big and still, small the world really is.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I might be convinced that this is really all there is.

If I had never gone to Cambodia I wouldn't understand how great it feels to be called Ms.Bo by adoring 7th graders.

If I had never gone to Cambodia some of my students wouldn't know how to laugh at themselves, dance the macarena, or communicate better with the people in their lives.

Sara Groves has been giving me more fulfillment in her poetic songwriting than I ever expected. I feel like so many of her songs speak to me right where I'm at, especially, "Less Like Scars".

"It's been a hard year, I'm climbing out of the rubble,
These lessons are hard, healing changes are subtle.
But everyday, less like tearing, more like building,
less like captive, more like willing,
less like breakdown, more like surrender,
less like haunted, more like remember.

And I feel you here and your picking up the pieces, forever faithful.
It's out of my hands and bad situations, you are able.
And in your hands the pain and hurt, look less like scars and more like character.

Less like a prison, more like my room.
Less like a casket, more like a womb.
Less like dying, more like transcending.
Less like fear, less like an ending.

And just a little while a go, I couldn't feel the hope,
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing.
But just a little while back, I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping,
you would come.

I need you and I want you here."

Thanks Sara.


Ashley said...

If you hadn't gone to Cambodia I wouldn't know how to use Skype.

Seriously though I didn't see everything (I've only seen it through your eyes) and I didn't learn all the lessons (I've only learned some through your writing) but my worldview is bigger because of you.

All who know you well can't help but be changed because you were changed.

That's what would be different for me if you hadn't gone.