Stories for the Journey

Dear Abba,

You are nervous, unsure and do not remember the last time you were this self conscious. It's your second week in America and the first at your university in the middle of nowhere Michigan. People are already introducing you as 'the hilarious Kenyan.' This is the place where you will perfect the art of building a huge personality to mask your anxiety. I wish you would get out of your head for a moment, soften your wide smile that does not quite reach your eyes and pause to appreciate the new things in this foreign land everyone is telling you to call home. Don't let the novelty wear off so fast, your time here is so much shorter than you can imagine.

I know you can't help but feel overly self-aware in the sea of white faces and that's okay. But fight the urge to shrink within yourself when you notice that the boys barely pause when they look your way. So what if you don't evoke the same spark in their eyes as the long legged blonde girls? Never forget, you are more beautiful than you know, stop searching for validation from randy pubescent boys… or anyone else for that matter. Your beauty however is not what brought you here; refocus yourself to the deep cravings of your soul. "I want to get smarter; I need a school that will teach me how to think." It's a simple goal, stick to it.

There's a slight panic beneath your cool exterior as you make the rounds through your classmates hoping for some connection. You will never admit it to yourself or your family that your heart aches for home. After all, you're not another homesick American freshman, right?  Wrong. I'm so glad that this place will allow you to learn that feelings don't make you weak. Having people and a place that your soul yearns for is a blessing.

On these perfectly manicured lawns, missing the 'DO NOT STEP ON THE GRASS' signs you were used to in Kenyan schools, you will have beautiful conversations that will make you marvel at the greatness of your God, truth, goodness and beauty. You can't stand the sound now but you will eventually have country music playlists. Go on and make purely platonic relationships with the pretty white boys and allow yourself to lap in the blissful waves of puppy-love when you choose the imperfect one for you. Try new things, join a sorority when you sense boredom creeping in and don't feel obligated to explain your decisions. You're terrified of fast food induced obesity, keep working out, your body will thank you later.

Let yourself grow. It won't be easy and many times you'll want to cut and ran. Call your mom instead, cry a little, and get back to it. You're concentrating too much on the end though; do enjoy the process of your story and live life truly. Four years will soon be over and it will be a surprise when you realize that you made a home of the kindred spirits you came to call your friends. Goodbyes will break your heart, that's a great thing, having people and a place that your soul yearns for is a blessing.

Your loving albeit still anxious,
Future Abba  


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