At least that’s what I like to think anyway. And its what’s written on the front of a very-cool bicycle-themed birthday card that my mom sent me this year (she knows me pretty well!). The thing about adventures is that they don’t always go quite as planned. I suppose that’s what makes them adventurous.
Sunday morning, I joined the president of Young Life and over sixty Young Life leaders from the Middle East and Africa in Bagamoyo to retrace the final steps of the Freedom Walk. In 2014, the Young Life Freedom Walk followed the path of the slave caravans that traversed Tanzania, praying for reconciliation and freedom in the place of bondage. My job was to document the occasion in photos, and it was an incredible event to photograph as Young Life leaders carried their nations’ flags to the cross. Symbolically, they laid a chain at the foot of the cross, then spent time in prayer, reconciliation, confession, and praise. It was both moving and powerful.
That evening, I attended Worship Night at the Ocean International Church. I was running sound, as usual, and in a lot of pain from an over-enthusiastic dive playing Ultimate Frisbee the previous day. I was exhausted from the day in Bagamoyo and really only even there out of a sense of loyalty to the rest of the sound team. I was worried about managing to repair the brake line that had just exploded on my motorcycle, about where the money for the repairs would come from after numerous unexpected expenses, about getting the photos edited in time….But then I found myself worshipping for the first time in months. I forgot about what other people might think. I let go of my concerns about the day. I worshipped. It had been so, so long. And I felt so incredibly free.
But then Monday hit. And Tuesday. Two days right out of hell. One thing after another went “wrong.” Exhaustion added to exhaustion and inconveniences and interruptions. Sure, on Sunday I was tired and in pain, but I had joy. On Monday and Tuesday, it felt like Satan was doing everything he could to rob that: tiredness, pain, frustrations, long hours at work, etc. I am not one to blame Satan for a rough day, but after the victory and freedom and joy of Sunday, this felt like opposition.
Even today, I was fighting for joy.
But then I returned to the Young Life training center after a full day at work for more photography, and as soon as I started taking photos, it was like a switch had flipped. Suddenly my energy and joy was back. There’s something about Young Life…its like I was born for it. But weren’t we all? God made us for relationship…with Him and with each other…
Tonight was also connect group, where we continued our study of John with chapter two. Once again, I was woefully unprepared to lead. I drove straight from the Young Life event to connect group, arriving only a few minutes before we were due to start, and just in time to quickly skim through the chapter: NOT how I would recommend leading a Bible study! But God came through once again. John 2 includes the stories of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water to wine, and him throwing out the money changers in the temple. In both stories, I was struck with the thought that Jesus consistently revealed himself to the less privileged, the outcasts, and those looked down on by the religious leaders of the day. When He was born, His birth was announced first to the shepherds. When He turned water into wine, only the servants at the wedding knew where the wine had come from. In the temple, by clearing the money changers from the outer courts, He was defending the right of the Gentiles and the women to worship God. Later, He welcomed the children, stopped to hear the story of a woman with an issue of blood, and healed lepers.
I know there was something else I wanted to say about that, but its after midnight…and, if I haven’t mentioned it already, I’m exhausted. And its only Wednesday…Thursday. I apologize now for the random and perhaps overly personal nature of this post…it really did have some sort of logical structure in my head. At one point. And pictures. I’ll try to remember to add pictures eventually.