As I have been getting ready for my trip Monday, and giving myself the aforementioned pep-talks on a daily basis, I was thinking about another overseas adventure I had some years ago, when I was much younger. When I was at Warburg Seminary, I spent the academic year of 1994/1995 studying overseas in Germany. There was an exchange program with the Augustana Hochschule in Neuendettelsau, and so I just needed to get myself there—tuition, books, and room and board would be paid for the whole year. I didn’t speak a word of German, I had never been overseas like this by myself before [this was before the practice of spending a semester abroad in college was as common as it is now], and a year was a long time! But, I knew I wanted to go, and so I did it.
I packed a big backpack and two smaller duffle bags, and flew off to Frankfurt, carrying everything I would need for a year. I made my way from the airport to the train station, stored my two bigger bags in a train station locker, and walked to the hostel where I would stay for a few days while I explored the city. Keep in mind, this was pre-computer [I wonder now how I even found the hostel—how did we find things before “Google”?], pre-mapquest & GPS [I was old-school, baby, just a map and common sense], and pre-cell phone [at the Hochschule, I lived in a dorm with just one phone down the hall for all of us. I wrote lots of letters—still do!]. I did just fine, and even made it down to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where I took a Goethe-Institut intensive course for 5 weeks. It was the start of what was one of the best years of my life.
So, I am reminding myself that I still am that Kristin: that person who saw that great opportunity, embraced the whole experience, and enjoyed every minute of it. That’s the beauty of facing challenges the first time; when the situation arises again, you know you have already done it once, and so you know you have it in you to do it again. And, I keep reminding myself of what a great opportunity this trip really is: I don’t want to be one of those people who forgets to be thankful for good gifts!
I had a great conversation this morning with someone else who is really blessed, and we were reminding each other of how we have worked hard to get to the great place we are in, and how it is important [though sometimes hard!] to trust God, and keep walking into this great future God has prepared for us—and for which we ourselves have prepared. In other words, we ARE ready! Bring it on! I keep thinking of that great prayer in ELW by Julian of Norwich: “…Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It all may not work out exactly as I imagine or even hope, but, indeed, by God’s grace, all will be well.