Today, our class went to the beach, and I finally had time to reflect and think about the whirlwind of this journey so far. I had the chance to breathe and to experience God’s creation while I reflected on so many blessings. I sat back and I thought of all the doors that have opened for me on the trip, all the people I have met, and the relationships I have built. I had the opportunity to think about all the parts of this trip so far and the life-changing impact it has had.
I’ve found so much happiness here in Brazil and I think that has to do with me learning to let go. Letting go of control and letting God guide me… Letting go of my need for a plan and allowing everything to happen on its own time… Letting go of the walls I have built up and learning to be vulnerable… Letting go of anxiety and allowing myself to feel excitement, to feel joy.
Brazil has helped me to learn to find joy in the simple things. In feeling like I am a member of the family at my host ‘home’… In learning how to make dessert from my host mom, just as her mother taught her… I’ve found joy in buying a coconut and drinking out of it (even if I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would) while seeing beautiful art and in seeing tiny babies in the hospital.. I’ve found joy in sitting in the trunk of a car at Toyota and in long drives where I can see the sunrise and the sunset and all the beautiful people who live here.
Today, I found joy in playing in the sand like a kid and swimming in the ocean. I was as happy as a clam (pun intended) hunting for sand-dollars on the beach and rescuing ones that weren’t picked up by the water. I found joy experiencing God’s creation and the sheer beauty of this place with my friends.
Everything I have done here has been a new opportunity to find joy. I’m so thankful that I can experience this complete joy with the friends that I have grown so close with on this trip. They’ve been with me as I’ve laughed and cried, and as I’ve grown. As I have learned to let go, I have had a support network all around me. My class has become my family and that’s something that I never imagined would or could happen.
So, as I go into our last week in this amazing country, I am recognizing that I have grown tremendously, ever since a few weeks ago. I am so thankful that I can be on this amazing journey of growth and discovery with so many people who love and support me. They allow me to be me, as I let go and find my joy.
With a Joyful Heart,