My heart goes in my throat every time I think about it. The closer it gets the less real it seems, and the more daydreamy I get. Four weeks on a new continent with some of my dearest friends. Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France. É muito para desejar. It is too much to wish for.
I feel the tiniest bit like Daisy Miller, some young air-headed girl who is intent on exploring Europe to round out her education. On one level it seems selfish and indulgent, and I always answer any inquiries as to the trip's purpose with a sheepish, "Oh, just vacation." Oh, but what a blessing! What a mind-blowing, heart-swelling, joy-giving blessing! To see the things God has made and the people He loves, to grasp hold of a perspective that transcends my little Rhode Island suburban world into a vision for all the people. A "vacation," yes, but oh that it would be missional.
I am worried about certain things. Like spending twelve hours in a fuselage hurtling through the air 30000 feet above the ocean. The longest I've ever been on a plane before was five hours from PA to San Francisco, and believe you me, that was a rough flight. The most recent plane trip I took was only two and a half hours from Florida to Rhode Island, but because of horrific turbulence I spent most of the flight taking deep breaths and counting to sixty. It's not that I don't like flying, it's that I don't know how to cope with new (and potentially anxiety-inducing) experiences. So that should be fun.
It makes me shy to admit, but I've also never been away from my family for a whole month before. The two weeks I spent in New Hampshire one summer when I was fifteen were lonely, and even when I lived away from home in Wakefield, I still got to see my family on weekends. No one knows better than my family that I'm not easy to get along with, that I'm whiny and contentious and moody. I wince in anticipation of the failures I'm sure to fall towards, shortcomings in loving others and honoring God. I can't help but expect that I'll stumble in the newness and foreignness of it all. And it's a challenge in the next twenty days to dwell on the power of Christ in me, rather than the tendencies of my shriveled little heart.
I am obsessed as well with how best to document this month of adventure. As I will be cut off from my traditional modes of Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, I've turned instead to the trusty journal, which has guided me through many of my Significant Life Experiences. But then, I want something super portable. And it would be nice to have something scrapbooky and self-contained, something I could dig out my curio cabinet saying, "Ah, yes, here it is, my Europe 2012 memory book." Currently I've opted for a little khaki softcover Moleskine booklet, but I wonder if it's a bit too flimsy, and maybe even too small for a month's worth of reflections.
And so these various worries are causing varying levels of angst in me. Still, through it all God's hand has been over this trip. From arranging accommodations to providing someone to stay with the Rocks' vovó. Giving me the money to afford this and school. To know that He cares for these things! That He showers blessings with true abundance! I am positively brimming with gratitude, for the Rocks and for this expedition!