abounding in autumn
Autumn. A season of new beginnings, fresh chapters, self-discovery, and brisk air. Everyone loves what the autumn brings and like a New Year, we all want to become better versions of ourselves when it rolls around. This year has been the same in a lot of ways, but it has also felt very different. So much is going on in the world around us that there is a sense of chaos and uncertainty in almost everyone I talk to. We are all trying to hard to have a grasp on the smallest components of our lives that we do not really take the time - or have the space - to wisely consider a plan of execution. I have seen this all too often in the people I care about most and - although I recognize this trend - I have also seen it in myself recently. I've been learning...why commit to anything unless you can do it with excellence? Do you have a strategy behind your commitments? Are you just saying yes because you want to please the people above you? Even if they are healthily inspiring to you, or someone you love, this can quickly become a legitimate problem. Knowing your capacities and true giftings has so much value...as does recognizing which areas you have been compromising in your life. Maybe a certain compromise comes to mind as you're reading this - is that compromise worth it to you? What makes it so? I know I need to slow down and reflect on these things often, especially as my plate begins filling up.
I think I've experienced more change this autumn than I have since I moved to France. I'm getting pretty settled in at my new job and have been "dipping my toes" in a lot of pursuits (take a browse around the site to get an idea). I love having projects on the horizon and things I am consistently working on. It gives life that extra zest and allows loved ones to celebrate alongside of you. That is one of the beauties of this life. Besides keeping busy in general, I also moved out this month, and I am leaving to Tamil Nadu, India in approximately 20 days now! I'm headed there to serve alongside my church and Samaritan's Purse at Mahalir Aran Trust; a shelter and home for destitute women, which teaches workplace skills after they have either been widowed or abandoned (women are seen as very low in society there). The shelter also rescues children from infanticide in the region, which is very close to my heart and similar to the mandate I undertook in Sierra Leone last year. The home was started by only one woman and her husband - but lives are truly being changed. This kind of work - the kind where people are given their worth and shown their value (some for the first time ever) is something I always desire to support and back. My heart is bursting just thinking about it and in my opinion, this kind of work is the most worthwhile and carries the biggest impact possible.
I've actually never traveled this far in my life, nor did I ever envision that India would be a place I would be going to. I have some Indian ancestry (though Northern) and I am intrigued to see what cultural roots are buried there. The region, Tamil Nadu, is one of the oldest cradles of Hindu civilization - their temples are ancient and their language is one of the only modern languages that is preserved almost exactly from antiquity. What a rich tapestry of heritage and belonging. I've never been in such a place. If you want to join me financially, I have a donation page up and only have about $400 to raise. You can donate (tax receipt-able and optionally anonymous) here.
So many things have been itching to be awakened inside of me with the coming of the fall. With moving and the new job, a lot of these things have been very hard to maintain and follow, however. I am looking forward to compiling my compromises, my commitments, and my character and choosing what will have priority soon. I encourage you all to do the same. More updates coming soon... - j o s i a h