My life is many things. Boring is NOT one of them!
It's kind of a running joke with my close friends and family that my life is a series of events that seem to follow Murphy's Law. (Murphy's Law is "anything that can go wrong will go wrong"). And while things don't really always go "wrong," things are frequently just bizarre! A few small examples would be things like having my car stolen the day before I was selling it during the week of Thanksgiving one year. Or the time I was in Thailand and it took 9 hours or so to get to a destination that should have taken 2 hours....leaving us stranded on an island for a night. Then there was my first visit to Yosemite when the control arm of my car snapped in half going down a mountain and my car coasted into a safe zone in front of a waterfall where we waited for rescue. And of course, out-of-season weather likes to follow me....like a sand-storm by a lake in the middle of August, rain in a city that had been in a drought until the night that I arrived, first note-worthy earthquake in years upon my first night living in SF. The list is endless!
I guess when 2020 hit and things went crazy, for me in a lot of ways, my life didn't change much. It has always been crazy! And so it should come as no surprise that the year I try to move to Nepal (after spending over 5 years praying about it and waiting on the right timing), it would be the year that the world stood still.
My August departure turned to September. Then to October. And now, again to November 21st. And for the first time in this process, things look the most promising they ever have....but not without some caveats!
The Embassy of Nepal is finally allowed to start processing visas for tourists, but the catch is that for now, they are only allowing you to come if you are going on a trek or mountaineering. For some of you, that may sound like a dream come true! I, however, am not you.
I have been "plus-sized" since I was eight years old. It's been a lifelong journey of battling confidence, exercise, healthy eating habits, and just being healthy overall. It wasn't until I was 21 or so that I learned I have a health condition that makes losing weight incredibly challenging. And over time, I have become fairly content with who I am and the way I have been shaped and created. Of course, I still try to also work hard to be as healthy as I know how to be and just have to know that health and body shape/size are not equivalent. That being said, as much as I enjoy a beautiful hike in the WNC Mountains....I am NOT a backpacker and the thought of spending multiple days and nights hiking through the Himalayas in December....well it's more terrifying than exciting for me. And yet, this is the only way in.
I got to catch up with one of my best friends the other day and we just started laughing at life's circumstances. Years ago, when I first started considering going to Nepal, our friend Sandip told us he would take us on a trek to the basecamp of Mount Everest and that we could spend 2-3 weeks hiking around the Himalayas. I laughed hysterically at the idea of my oversized, unrefined self traipsing around the world's tallest mountains like it was no big deal. I told Sandip that I would LOVE to go to Nepal, but that it would take a while for me to ever feel comfortable doing anything like that. (Actually, I'm pretty sure my dramatic self said something more along the lines of "I would literally die if I attempted that trek!") And now, wouldn't you know it, in order to get to the country that is so impressed on my heart, I have to do the very thing I was most fearful of doing.
I'm doing one of the easiest options that are available and expect that it will be a wonderful, beautiful hike that I definitely will never forget. But let me just tell you. I'm really nervous about it! And I'm sure something crazy will happen on the trek that doesn't usually happen to other people. My hope is that it is something positive! But either way, I know there will be memories made and lessons learned.
You know, it could be better and it could be worse. But God has opened a door for me to finally go! And it just makes me smile! I love this about my relationship with God. He knows me so well and he knows how stubborn and prideful I can be. And out of His love for me, He is constantly doing things in my life to keep me humble. I love that God cares so much about my character that He doesn't make things easy for me. Instead, He constantly puts me in challenging situations that allow me to break, to learn, and to grow. He's got a twisted sense of humor sometimes and though it's not always fun to experience, it is always fun to look back and laugh and see what He was doing during the hard parts of the journey. After all, James 4:6 says "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I would much rather be shown grace than to have God as an opponent!
The reality is, it is still not even a guarantee that this will get me into Nepal. I'm waiting on my trekking permit to arrive and then the Embassy has to approve and send me my visa and passport back. (All before November 20th). And even after that, I must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of my flight. And once I arrive in the country, I am required to quarantine in a hotel for 7 days and they will test me on the 5th day to see if I have COVID. If it's negative, I get released on the 7th/8th day (still a grey area), but if it's positive, I must remain in the hotel quarantine until I can produce a negative test.
I know some people who, when they feel like God is calling them to do something or go somewhere, everything seems "extra anointed" and they have no hiccups and it just seems like the coolest thing. And it's easy for me to look at those people and start doubting my own calling because it seems like my journey is more rough and I start to think I'm forcing something that didn't get God's approval. And you know what? Sure. There is a chance I didn't hear correctly. But then I realize that acts of faith look different for all of us and blessings look different for all of us and I need to stop comparing!
This past year, I feel like one of the biggest lessons/works God has done in my heart is to remind me to stop looking out at other people's journeys and to keep refocusing my attention on Him and the journey that WE are on together. To be OK with it looking different from anyone else's life I know. To trust the process. To take a look around during the waiting to see all of the blessings around me. To cherish and treasure every moment.
It's a weird feeling not knowing if I will be home with family or isolated in a hotel on Thanksgiving this year. Not knowing....well, a lot of things really. And yet, I can't help but praise God for the lack of anxiety and just the general feeling that everything is in His control and will be OK. So I continue on this journey. Waiting. Watching. Embracing moments and encountering peace. Thanks for joining me. At the end, it will all be worth it!