Learning to Embrace the Sky
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come that you may have life and have it to the fullest."
I had a good-bye thank you party two days before I left for Uganda, and invited certain people from my church and close circle of friends who were the most important to me. One man from church who I look up to very much came up to me before he and his wife left for the evening and said, "Holly, I want you to know that you shouldn't put too much pressure on yourself when you go to Uganda. There will be plenty of opportunity to stress about things and I'm sure you'll make mistakes, but I want to give you one piece of advice. Have FUN. Have fun."
I am a person who has a very hard time NOT stressing about things. I take on a lot of stress myself, and have tended to take on other peoples' stress as well. No, it's not healthy or beneficial. So these two words were a huge wake up call for me before I left. Have fun. HAVE FUN! It's okay for me to have fun and not be serious with everything all the time.
John 10:10 is a great example of this for me. Jesus came for us to have life to the FULLEST, not for me to play it safe or to worry all the time. Living life to the fullest means to soak in moment by moment and live my life to the very fullest as if every day was my last. Now, this is not a call to be selfish in my life decisions. It is to live sacrificially and realize that my actions effect others. Having been hurt by one person a month ago through their selfishness, it made me realize that some people don't understand how to live and love selflessly. The problem with living this way is that you don't even realize how suddenly you are left with nothing but regret. Living life to the fullest means to fully commit my life to God; to commit my life to living as Christ did and living every day in grace and love for those around me. And not forgetting to HAVE FUN while doing it. For me that's a bit like learning cantonese.
For some reason, through much of my life I have thought of "having fun" in life in general as living irresponsibly. I don't know where this thought came from. In my mind I keep thinking, "yeah but if I have fun then I'm not looking out for others". But I think this is a lie. Living my life to the fullest means that I give myself permission to have opportunities to enjoy the life that God created me for TO THE FULLEST instead of living timidly. I think so much of the time Christians in North America think we have to live humble, quiet lives with the bare minimum of tension and ripples, but we miss so much and touch no one as a result.
It took me a long time to come up with a name for my blog. I thought of how huge my first experience of an African sunrise was. It was as if I was being swallowed by the sky as the sun rose. I thought, "I wish I could stretch my arms from one side of the sky to the other and hug it to myself". Maybe it was the artist in me. Maybe it was the romantic in me. But it's amazing. There is something breathtaking about the sky here. Even the most ominous thunderclouds are somehow welcoming. It feels like a small piece of heaven pierces earth with every sunrise I have witnessed. Embracing the Sky is not about just having a happy-go-lucky attitude, but a deliberate posture of readiness, arms outstretched and head lifted, to see what God will do every new day I am here. It's about seeing the opportunities to share life with people who desperately need it, and LIVE LIFE to the fullest. I feel like I've come out of a layer of myself into a place where my heart is stronger, and more willing to know where God is in every situation I face here. I embrace the sun and the moon and stars and wind and monsoon rain and thunder. The sky is alive and constantly changing, just like life. But I will learn to have fun through the sun and to dance in the rain.