Let me set the stage for you: As I write, I am sitting in a pierogi restaurant in Warsaw, Poland. Alone.
I have been on the trip of a lifetime over the past two weeks. I rented a car in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I have almost completed my trek around the entire Baltic Sea. Nine countries, nine languages (of which I speak ZERO) four currencies, three ferries, and me, by myself. How did this happen?!
Well, seeing the Northern Lights is one of the items on my #30b430 list, a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30.
I found cheap tickets to Copenhagen and the rest just fell into place. Booked on September 16, departure on October 13!
Five days before I left, my friend Katie (who I’d planned the trip with) told me she was unable to come.
I almost cancelled the whole trip. I had pretty bad anxiety leading up to it. I don’t like flying to begin with, and this whole trip was just insane altogether! A colleague asked me if I’d seen “Taken.” (#helpful.) I left my roommate with instructions to have Masses said for me if I didn’t come home. #nevernotdramatic
I just kept thinking “I don’t even know if I like myself enough to be alone with myself for sixteen days.”
Well as this Eurotrip nears its end, I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned.
-Ask for help! Depend on others! There is absolutely no way I could have survived on this trip without help and kindness from strangers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost and had to ask for directions, driven the wrong way down one way streets, and had to depend on strangers to speak MY language in THEIR country. People are good! They are trustworthy, and everyone loves to be helpful. Independence is not a Christian virtue. I remember a talk I heard at NCYC in 2008 by a man who had no arms or legs. He said “I’m blessed to have no arms or legs because I know that I need you. You don’t know that you need me.” Y’all! We need each other!!! God, Himself is a community of persons! I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all on my own. It is BETTER to ask for help and allow someone to help me because it shows me that I am just ONE part of the body of Christ.
-I’m the best version of myself when I am a part of a whole, but not an anonymous part of that whole. I think too much anonymity is dangerous. If it’s true that we need each other, then we also need to know and be known by one another. Being dependent on strangers has been humbling, but I’m ready to get back to the place on this Earth where I’m known. That said, I feel like Jesus has drawn me into this desert to speak to my heart, like it says in the book of Hosea. Only in my case, the desert is a continent full of people who don’t know my name. It was necessary to be anonymous for this brief time and I’m grateful for it, but I don’t think God calls most of us to anonymity for very long. If you are feeling anonymous in our parish, check this out.
-The most important thing I’ve learned on this trip is that my identity is daughter of the Most High God and he wants good things for his children. Ladies: you are the daughter of the King of this Universe and you are an heiress entitled to all of the rights and privileges therein. Gentlemen: you are the son of the Living God and there are battles being fought for your soul. Jesus will ask you to lay down your life, and when you say yes you will receive it back a hundredfold. I have spent a lot of time being proud of the titles I claim, but there is none more important than daughter or son.
And in case you’re curious about the good gifts God gives to his children, I refer you to the photo of me at the Northern Lights.
This blog was written by a guest writer and parishioner, Brittany Anderson. Brittany is a financial planner by day and evangelist by calling. She spends her free time Instagramming her many random hobbies and checking things off her 30 Before 30 list.