Look left to my open journal laying next to me and the empty pizza box in my empty hotel room and the black pen I know I’ll sleep next to tonight because I hope to fall asleep writing, and if I don’t,
I know the sun will rise.
Five weeks in, I see the number twenty and I say, ยี่สิบ (yīsib)
Five weeks in, missing “ka” at the end of my phrases feels rude (and is rude, at the same time)
And five weeks in, seeing pizza and mozzarella sticks instills relief in me, which I do not yet know is a good or bad sign.
I set my air conditioner to 18 tonight with full fan so that I can sleep comfortably under the blankets on my sheet-less bed.
Also, a quick note to America: whoever decided not to convert to the metric system, you’ve left me typing temperatures and kilometers into the google.com.th website more times than I can count.
“Why yes, it’s 32 degrees” as I begin to look as if I just stepped out of the shower after walking outside for ten minutes
Or, “yep, just 10 km to go” and all I can do is convert a 5k and double the mileage.
In the scheme of these things, those things do not matter.
I see kids sitting in their school uniforms chewing on chicken wings and Fanta sodas in cups of ice on the sidewalks after school.
I sip on a cup of melted chocolate with mint flavoring and look out the window toward a temple.
I meet elephants who have been rescued from abuse and see them happy and hungry for bananas.
“I know now there are bigger battles. No more second-guessing, throwing pennies into fountains wishing for things still yet to come. I have enough for me, I’ve always had enough.
I am enough. We are enough.
My soul knows something different now, and although I can’t quite speak the words, my heart is more open than it has ever been. More open, but more safe.
I went through a time where safe was a part of love I didn’t understand. I understand it now.
There are years that ask questions and years that answer. I scroll through the camera roll on my cell phone to the past four year’s “words of the year” vision boards: 1) embrace 2) abide 3) restoration, and this year, 4) love
and it strikes me that three years of questions is what launched me into this first year of answers.
I don’t do what any normal human does at a realization such as this: I don’t look back. I look here. I look at myself in the mirror and nod my head.
I’ve spent enough present time looking back to know I’ve absorbed all that matters. I’ve hurt myself enough from it, I’ve loved myself enough from it, and now I’m here. Even through the mistakes and victories, I’d never trade here for anything.
This year is the first year I’ve discovered that not all questions have answers we can find, but they’re answered just the same. Sometimes we have to wait for the answers to find us, and when they do, they come in as love.
The greatest answers to our questions aren’t at the bottom of the ocean. They’re washing up on the sand. And the tide drags them back into the sea if we don’t move quickly, but they’ll rise to the shore once again, at the right time for us to capture them.
I remain in firm belief that what is meant for me will find me, and what never was will pass me by.
Because when I believe that, it’s no longer about me. When I believe that, I have to rely on something bigger than myself.
There are consequences I deserve that will never reach me, and it’s for those that I remind myself to move forward. That’s the power of mercy.
If I believe mercy does not exist, I trap myself in a cycle of years passing, wondering when the consequence of 10-years-before is going to reach me.
Maybe if I didn’t eat that box of Mike and Ike’s at age 7 when mom told me not to
If I wouldn’t have said those things maybe we’d still be together
If I wouldn’t have left the back door open my cat wouldn’t have run away and
We hold onto these broken memories as if they’re full stories, stories we never concluded but resolved in our minds with fear. They start with an if or maybe, and end without an answer.
Mercy finishes those stories for us- the ones we never finished on our own.
Mercy and truth create safety. They leave us with a happy ending. And it’s impossible to understand, but I know understanding and believing are different. So I believe, knowing that even if I never find an answer, I have love. And love is enough.”
It is always enough.