When I was a little girl, I would often play in my backyard and go down the slide over and over again. In my four- or five-year-old mind, this wasn’t just any slide, it was a magic slide that could transport me to any place in the world … even China! Now, some 14 years later, my magic slide has become an airplane, but the destination remains the same. This time, it will take closer to 15 hours than 15 seconds to travel to China. And this time, it’s real.
To be fair, my imaginary trips to China were very real in my young mind. I created a whole world and a whole set of interactions with people. This time, I cannot decide how other people will act, and it is better that way. I’m going to travel ready and open to what other people ask of me. I’m going to do something meaningful. I’m going to interact with humans who were created in the image of God, and I’m going to love them that way. I’m going to learn more about who God is through these people. I’m going to experience a different culture.
Am I ready? Far from it. How could I be ready? I’ve never experienced anything like this - I’ve never even flown on a plane before! Am I excited? Very. I am excited in all of my unknowingness. I am confident that this will be the experience of a lifetime. Am I nervous? Of course! Like I said, I haven’t done anything like this. Who wouldn’t be nervous?
Am I filled with joy at the thought of this trip? Absolutely. I am overwhelmed with joy when I think about going to Hope Foster Home in Beijing. There, medically fragile children are cared for and loved, no matter how critical their condition. There, people have given their lives to caring for kids who may not survive. There, I want to make life a little easier for those incredible people, and I want to share in the joy of these children, surrounded by love. I am overwhelmed with joy when I think about traveling throughout Taiwan with the students from Fu Jen Catholic University. I am excited to do a variety of things to help the people there, and I am excited to learn something from every person I encounter.As I write this, the trip is four days away. I am full of nervousness and excitement and joy. My magic slide is now a plane, and I invite you to make this blog your magic slide. It can be your way to walk alongside me and all of the other members of the Saint Vincent community who are taking this trip. I hope that you can find something meaningful in it. Welcome to the journey!