Last week, all the fellows headed to Tennessee on our "wilderness adventure." It was a week full of mountains, waterfalls, caving, cliff diving, whitewater rafting, staying at a gorgeous farmhouse, and so much more. In 1 week, I experienced so many of my favorite things that I'm literally getting excited just typing about it. I can't begin to describe the blessing of the community that I am surrounded by. 11 other fellows who are living life with me, going through the same transitions that I am, and doing it in a way that is so encouraging I could just explode. We all took turns sharing our stories- what makes us who we are, how we have seen God work, things we still struggle with or question, and were just real. There were so many tears. When you hear someone's story, it's like something in their story just pulls at your heart strings and you are able to identify that much more with them, because, somehow, it reminds you of yourself. We shared our hurts, our burdens, our joys, and our hopes. We are 12 very different people, but 12 people committed to each other, and being accountable to each other, and investing in each other. And it's beautiful. It's not perfect, but it's community. We came back battered and bruised from our adventures, but with full hearts.
Monday I started my job as the assistant director of Foundations Early Learning and Family Center. It was a great first day of work, getting to know the staff, starting to figure out my role as the volunteer coordinator, and forming relationships with the precious 4 year olds in the class. I woke up Tuesday and went for a run. I made it almost a mile before I stepped wrong on the side of the road and rolled my foot underneath itself, falling flat on my face (downhill). Typical Lauren, right? I walked over a half mile back home realizing all the way that my foot was probably broken. After the doctor visits yesterday and today, it definitely is. My precious host mom has been so patient with my stubborn self, telling me it wasn't an option not to go to the doctor, making me sit my booty down so she can get things for me, and has just been such an encouragement. I called my
mentor Walton and told him and of course his response is, "Gilpin, girl you are like the most un-athletic athletic person ever!" Tell me about it..
But the reality of the situation is, my foot hurts daggumit and I can't walk on it. I am depending on others to carry things for me, to (yesterday) drive me around, to help me up steps, to bring me a cup of coffee. And I hate it. I hate it because I only made it through 1 day of work this week and I actually like my job. I hate it because I don't want it to be a painful task to get up to go potty. I hate it because I feel dumb for having broken my foot doing something I do every day. I hate it because I like to do things myself, and have always been that way. I hate it because I don't want people to feel like they have to take care of me. I hate it because I am in physical pain from walking on one leg, on the foot that I already have arthritis in. And I hate it because I am prideful. I could have been in Haiti and broken my foot- I ran there, it could have easily have happened then. I could have been on the wilderness trip, in the middle of the cave. I could have been placed in a host family where the mom was just not able to drive me to the doctor or do the little things for me. I could have been a mother of 3 in a hut in Africa whose family is dependent on me bringing them water. I mean really yall, that really happens.
I am so thankful that I am surrounded by people who love me and have told me that they are blessed by serving me. They carry my coffee and get my supper for me. They bring me a brownie from work, or make sure I make it to my car ok. They tell me what questions to ask at the doctor and tell me to sit down when I should because they've been through this before. As much as I hate being taken care of, I am being shown that to truly be able to serve others, I must be willing to be served. I can't do it all on my own, even if I had 2 good feet. And now that I have 1 decent foot and 1 broken one, I definitely can't. I know that this is just a short season in my life. But my prayer is that it is one of growing my patience, my contentment, and my joy in the little things. I'm learning how to plan- that's something you have to do when you can only get up a counted number of times. I'm learning how to be still. And I'm learning that it's ok for others to help you. It sounds dumb to say that out loud. But making it my heart attitude is proving to take a lot more time.
Peace & Blessings yall, from Birmingham.
"I have an interesting perspective on depending on others. I think it gives people a chance to serve. And I'm not so much big on independence, as I am on interdependence. I'm not talking about co-dependency, I'm talking about giving people the opportunity to practicing love with its sleeves rolled up." Joni Eareckson Tada