Nobody can bring you peace but yourself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I'm currently in a state of limbo at the moment. Although I am at Piedmont and am doing work-related things, I have technically not started my job yet. So I thought it would be a good idea to enjoy the rest of this peaceful week by picking up a good book. Everywhere I have turned, people have told me that I should read "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. I have really enjoyed John Green's content on YouTube, so I hope to enjoy this book as well. I am currently four chapters into the book and my goal is to finish it before it hits theaters in a week! Let the challenge begin!
As far as "peace" goes, I would like to share a two part story with you. This story is a bit of a religious one, but has also been the main times in my life I have ever felt truly at peace. With things moving at 100 miles an hour, sometimes it's good to just stop for a second and smell the roses.
Our story begins during my sophomore year in High School. I was attending my second church retreat ever and I was really enjoying the destination! For those that don't know, many Catholic Youth Groups for High School students fall under a program called "Life Teen". Life Teen is usually a very strong program full of fast music, coed retreats, and some really intense soul searching experiences. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that as a teen? Anyways, back to the story. This particular retreat was about breaking the chains of sin and moving back toward God. Looking back, many of the retreats I attended fell under this theme, but this one actually resorted to us getting our hands zip-tied together. In retrospect, this is a little extreme, but I guess we were all safe and it made a lasting impact.
So while having our hands being tied, we had to reflect on the bonds of sin and were then freed from our bonds and were told to go somewhere in the camp and really think about it some more. Many of my friends decided to all sit in the same room and think, but wanting to get away from any distraction possible, I went to the other side of the camp and found a crystal clear lake with a small dock on it. There was no one in earshot, so I looked up to the heavens and talked to God. I was going through some difficult time and was really struggling with the concept of even the existence of God. I ended up shouting at the top of my lungs, asking where He was. So many people believed in a higher being, but I needed proof. After about an hour, I finally sat down on the dock and everything became very still. Everything was still except for a stork who flew down and landed about five feet away from me. To many, I'm sure this does not feel like too much of a mind-blowing experience, but right at that time, I just felt completely at peace. I knew God was with me, and I knew He was looking out for me.
Part 2: Two years later, I was very excited because my last Life Teen retreat was being hosted at the same campsite where I had my "stork experience." Over the past few years, our group had been using a different site for our big retreats, so it was a comfort to have my last trip be at a place with such a special meaning to me. Throughout the majority of my trip, I tried to find the lake. It wasn't until the morning of my last day when I finally stumbled upon it. The past two years had not been kind to the lake. The dock had sunk into the water, oil spills spread out on the surface of the water, and everything just wasn't nearly as green as I had remembered it. I was going through another difficult time in my life at the time and really did not feel very loved. Of course I had my family to be there for me, but I just wanted more than that. I had broken up with a girlfriend a year or two ago, and things just weren't changing. Once more I shouted up to God asking for an answer. "I know you are there, we talked the last time I was here, but this time I need you to send me a sign to let me know you are there and that I am loved." An hour or so passed and still no stork flew by. The times had obviously changed and I sank to my knees in defeat. (Yes I was very dramatic back then!) About to give up, I began to walk away one last time, but something in the water caught my attention. All of the ugly oil spills in the water had become hearts and once more I was filled with peace.
I realize there are probably many explanations to argue the interaction with a divine being or even just to question the decision making of a hormone-driven, sleep-deprived, teenager, but these experiences were just what I need to get me through those moments in my life. I will never fully understand them, but I always smile when I think of them. Sometimes the smallest things in life like a stork or a misshapen oil spill can make all the difference. Just something to consider. Goodnight all!
About the video: I mainly wanted to post this video as a followup to yesterday's video. The Reading Rainbow kickstarter program reached their million dollar goal in under 11 hours after posting their project. Currently as I am typing, the project has now exceeded the 2.4 million dollar mark and is still climbing at a rapid rate! Here is the video reaction once they hit 1 million dollars. Enjoy :)