I’ve just returned from a wonderful week reconnecting to the region I live in. For much of the world the island I call home is a dream destination – rainforest, wide Pacific beaches, quaint communities that have adjusted well to changing economies, wild animals that have disappeared from much of the world. I take it for granted, and this trip was a true gift in reconnecting to how rich life is right here.
And yet … the urge grows every day. The little voices reminding me there is more to life than this piece of granite. The pull to warmer sun, to foreign accents, to learning about myself and the world every time I open the door.
It was two years ago this past Saturday that I received word that I’d been accepted as a CUSO volunteer. I would leave just six weeks later for an adventure from which I hope never to recover. Somehow, despite its 69 comments and 104 likes, Facebook didn’t share a reminder of the post with me, and that’s okay. I still remembered. I remembered like you remember your wedding anniversary long after the marriage has ended. I remembered like you remember the softness of your baby’s downy skull long after the child has grown to refuse your cuddles. I remembered with a combination of soul-affirming joy and deep yearning that pulls at me like quicksand.
There is nothing holding me here except the most ordinary of circumstances, yet those circumstances seem to be ones I can’t see my way clear of on my own. Worse, I haven’t figured out how to gracefully ask for help and don’t seem to be doing what I know I can do to help myself. One ‘to do’ that hangs over my head is my CUSO fundraising goal – I have given up on that commitment. It seemed such a ridiculously small goal when I agreed to it. I thought it would be covered before I even left. It is still a small goal, but it is one of those sticking points in my mind and reaching it would make a world of difference – mentally for me, but more importantly and concretely for the next volunteers who CUSO will send to share their skills and talent with the world.
Two years. It has passed in an instant and the whole world around me has changed. Or perhaps only I have changed and the world around me is the same. Either way, this week has raised more questions than it has answered … the loudest being “where next, Shannon. And when?”