From East to West Prologue Part 1
I realize I left some pretty big gaps in my last post , so I wanted to fill those in and tell the full story.
It's kind of a funny story.
Isn't that how all complicated and insane stories begin? The details, the places, the people. But all of it woven together in the timing. Timing is everything (and no, I do not mean to sound like that one parent/teacher/principal from when you were twelve and late for dance class/breakfast/midterms) I mean the timing that organizes our life. Like how a girl from Maryland can meet a girl from L.A. in Bangkok, Thailand, out of one hundred plus students.
It's a very funny story.
Over the summer I went to India (another story, for another post). It was a missions trip and it was crazy. Before my team went to India, we met up with two other teams going to two other countries, all a part of the same program. One morning during our quiet time I sat at a table in the courtyard with a girl who was on the same trip as my friend Colette, they were both going to Egypt. It was during this time I got to know Maran. And she got to know me, and found out how I was planning to fly to L.A. after the missions trip.
Maran immediately offered up her house as a place for me to stay and of course I was beyond excited at such a generous offer. We ended up going on our separate trips and did not meet up again until four weeks later. She again reiterated her offer, and I realized this would actually be a huge blessing for me, since I had no plan (except to get on a plane and fly to California).
After my missions trip ended I returned to Maryland and was able to see my brother and meet his wife (who had been in Germany the past two years) and my boyfriend (now husband, who I hadn't seen since the end of May) and my family who had only received one email from me during my time in India.
My boyfriend, had planned to visit me before he left for his training in North Carolina as a surprise. Although he was originally stationed in the desert of California, he'd already been in the training for a little over two weeks and still had twenty-three days to go, when I first flew out to California. The first couple weeks of the training we would talk every night, but the day before I flew out was the last day we could talk since the training switched from phase 1 to phase 2, where he could not use his phone.
It was hard. I was flying across the country and couldn't even talk to my best friend about it. However, he helped me plan my trip and had arranged for a friend of his to pick me up at the Palm Springs airport and then take me to the base, where I would pick up his car and drive from the desert base to L.A. (a 3hr car trip after a 5hr flight).
The drive from the desert to L.A. was exhilarating. I was full of adrenaline. I had flown across the country and had figured everything out thus far. The drive was beautiful, the scenery so different from the forests I was used to driving past in Maryland. The music on the radio changed, a different station cutting in and a different music genre followed me through each scenery change of the trip, from desert, to canyons, past Mountains and into the city.
My first couple of days I had planned to stay with one of my best friends from college, Lennie, who lived in the city of L.A. We spent a lot of time talking and walking around, going to coffee shops and trying out Egg Slut. It was refreshing to finally be done with traveling and be in one place for a couple days. Lennie is an amazing friend and I am so glad that we are back on the same coast together.
After my time with Lennie, I drove into the suburbs of L.A. county and found Maran's house, a place I had only imagined staying for a couple weeks. It was crazy to see Maran again only two or three weeks after returning from the trip. We spent our first couple of hours talking about the transition back and our friends from the trip who we had been keeping in contact with.
Before flying out I had aligned an interview and applied to a couple jobs and figured I'd be moved into my own place in no time. But, the interview didn't go well, the job was not at all what I expected. And the full weight of my decision- leaving my life in Maryland and flying to California- hit me and I felt confused and afraid.
Then, I met my sister's friend, the pastor named Troy (mentioned in the last post). I was cautious because I knew he was starting a church and didn't want to promise anything such as my attendance or support. But he didn't pressure me at all, instead, he connected me with some of the women from the church and I made some friends. Then I started attending the Bible Study and eventually church on Sunday.
I was nervous about attending the church because, I had just come from a very complicated missions trip that left me very confused and my faith seemingly shattered. I wasn't exactly "ready" to go to church, but at the same time, I had nothing else. It was almost as if God was saying, "You think you need a job, a place to live and security in this world, but really you need me."
And it was true, I needed security in God, rather than this world. Troy became my friend, I began to trust him and the church more. I was only willing to attend, because he was so chill, and because I didn't have anywhere else to go. The church met in the park and provided breakfast as communion. It was amazing how perfect it sounded especially after I had attended a mega-church with Lennie in L.A. city, I couldn't see myself going back to a building, with a concert for worship- it was a cool place, but did not minister to my spirit, especially after the trip I'd just come from.
I'll never forget my first Sunday in the park, full of sunshine and birds and a small gathering of people (maybe ten or twelve). There were two people who led worship by the duck pond and we all had breakfast together.
I'll never forget that day.
To be continued...