Today wasn’t supposed to look like this. Actually, this whole month wasn’t supposed to unfold like it did. I had the perfect plan: spend the entire month of August continuing to prepare physically, mentally, and spiritually for our trip to India.
August 1st came and went. So did the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th; instead of being filled with a perfectly balanced agenda the days were filled with the chaos and the unplanned. You see, I’m the girl that has it all planned out before a big trip. Even road trips to see family send me to my “happy place” of organizational skills. I pack the suitcase, toiletries, and snack bag all in perfect organized bliss. I lay our outfits out the night before and painstakingly go over my list for the third time before getting into bed as scheduled. That is what August was meant to look like.
However, doctor appointments took the place of any preparation I had hoped for. The eight appointments this month have left me exhausted in the three areas of my life that I had hoped to rejuvenate prior to leaving. Matt and I have been distracted from our trip to India to say the least. We have completed all of the practical tasks, but in the midst of one waiting room or another we became distracted. Honestly, I felt guilty earlier in the month when I realized that this trip wasn’t getting the attention that I had hoped to give it. I wanted to truly invest all of my heart and soul into the preparation. I wanted to feel “ready”.
After sleeping for 13 hours last night and dragging groggily through the day today, I realized that I may not be ready like I wanted to be. I may get off of the plane in India and not be ready at all. I thought about it more–what I could have done to feel more “arrived”, “ready”, and “prepared” at this point in time. I looked at the calendar on the refrigerator and realized that my lack of organization hasn’t been lack of desire, but rather lack of time and energy. This whole time I have wanted to become some polished and spiritual version of myself–one that is ready to help orphans and meet those in need when I get to India.
That’s what churches do before they “send out” a team of missionaries or teen volunteers, isn’t it? They prepare for months and they dig deep into educating themselves on the culture and how they will help the lost and poor. That is what I wanted–to be so immersed in the trip to India that I would feel as if I were grounded when I got there; that I was somehow ready to take on the challenges. I laugh to myself now as I write this because I realize we’re going to an entirely different culture than our own. We’re going to be exposed to poverty like never before. Even the sounds, smells, and feel in the air will be different. This isn’t just going to the grocery store with a list of items and your reusable shopping bags. My best organizational skills won’t prepare us for this trip. I admire the teams that have the time and discipline to equip themselves for missions trips, but I’m sure even they end up in the corner crying at one point or another because of the culture shock. I am learning that that is okay. In fact, I almost expect to come unraveled.
Life just hasn’t allowed me to prepare in the ways that I wanted to. I understand now that if I had been able to feel completely prepared then I would have been presenting some fraudulent version of myself. Today, I realized that we’re only 17 days away from embarking on our Indian adventure. A slight panic arose in me. I realized how unprepared I am to share with those we will come in contact with. I felt so inadequate to offer any help to them. As I sat there in my own doubt and fear I was reminded that this trip is not for me. It’s not about what I can offer. It’s not even about me utilizing my skills to help these people. Maybe some churches get it a little “wrong” in that respect. It’s not about what we can do for this person or that people group. That conveys that the trip is about us and our skill set. Sometimes maybe the mission is to just be–be available, be willing, and most of all be unprepared in a sense.
In just 11 days I will begin packing our bags and organizing the toiletries to my specifications. I will go to my “happy place” and make sure that our passports will be placed in the carry on bag between a book and a magazine. I will be in the clothes that were lain out the night before and I’ll get on the plane ill prepared, but with the promise of God on all sides of me–that he never leaves us and that his strength is made perfect in weakness.