Field Note #180 Hard and good go together

An excerpt from Courtney Keen's experience in Amazon:

“Do you think everyone should travel?” No. If people want to travel and have the opportunity, I’d encourage them to go. But if people don’t want to or can’t, that’s fine too. Life is full of wonder and problems, often in tandem, whether you stay in the same town your whole life or go around the world. Courage is required regardless. I can choose to give into fear from my porch in Nashville or a boat in the Amazon. I can rejoice equally over that big backyard tree that drops sap on my car and that rainforest one that looks like it’s made up of a bunch of trunks clumped together. The thing is, every amazement has the potential to turn normal. We humans so quickly adapt—a blessing and a curse. Those trees become old hat to see. And we constantly need newness in our eyes. So, traveling, for me, helps remind me to look and to notice. Maybe the way having kids helps parents to view things anew. Or becoming friends with a blind person helps someone understand that really seeing things isn’t about eyesight. For years, I’ve hoped to go on a medical trip where surgeons heal the blind. But that’s so literal. True vision, Lord, we all need it—right here, right now, in our regular, holy days.

A batch of moments from this week’s short, but sweet Amazon trip. It’s a challenge for me to collect thoughts at the end of traveling, but I jotted down a few things on my 6-hour (dear God!) layover. First, getting to see tucked-away parts of the world in ways I’d never expect is a joy of my life. These experiences are gifts from the Lord. They are also always hard. It’s a reminder for me that “hard” and “good” go together—something I recently heard doing an interview with stroke survivor and braveheart Katherine Wolf. Attempting to embrace that truth is a goal of mine. So, after dozens of bug bites, a scraped knee, lost luggage, and invaluable memories that make my insides wanna take flight, I’m coming home as a thankful, exhausted gal.