Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I never dreamed

I remember sometime in my final year of university, I and my best friend were chatting one night about marriage and futures and dreams, and he asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 7 years?” And all of a sudden without a second thought, I said, “Probably I’ll be a missionary somewhere in Africa.” It wasn’t something I had dreamed or planned or talked about. It just sort of came out without thinking, as though it was simply meant to be.

But the truth is, I never dreamed of being a missionary.

I dreamed of the things little girls ought to dream about. I dreamed of houses with big wrap-around porches and babies and husbands and baking chocolate chip cookies and taking kids to soccer practice and home cooked dinners around the dining room table.

I never dreamed of being a missionary.

I never dreamed of dirt roads and spiders and angry mobs and trains and planes and buses. I never dreamed of fires and foreign languages and bunk beds and break-ins.

I never dreamed of cities or nations.

I never dreamed of cups of tea on the ground in Cairo’s slums. I never dreamed of the bright red of Maasai blankets or the deep green of the bush bush or the crystal waters of Zanzibar. I never dreamed of snowy castles in Germany or ancient bridges in Prague, of singing nuns in Austria or skyscrapers in Dubai.

I never dreamed of being a missionary.

I never dreamed of the stench of garbage cities or the depression of overflowing orphanages. I never dreamed of heart-wrenching overwhelming love for someone who can’t even speak your language. I never dreamed of strangers who cook everything they have for you, of acquaintances who give their last pennies for you. I never dreamed of long nights in the hospital with people you’ve just met or safaris with strangers-turned-friends. I never dreamed of the sunrise over the pyramids or the sunset over the Atlantic.

I never dreamed of being a missionary.

I never dreamed of the hundreds and hundreds of students - how could I never have dreamed of the students?

I never dreamed of students, of life-changing world-changers, who capture your heart and never quite give it back. I never dreamed of them.

And the crazy part is that sometimes I still lie awake at night and wonder if my dreams aren’t too big, too late, too impossible. I do.

And then God reminds me…

I never dreamed of being a missionary.

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.”

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