I have always had a fairly vivid imagination. Growing up, Anne Shirley (as in the resident of Green Gables) was a close personal friend, Bilbo Baggins was someone I prayed for during bedtime stories, and the classical music played by my parents in the car was the sound track for many adventures of Greek mythology.
Throughout my life, my mind & my imagination has been a wonderful place to live, to retreat to when times are rough, or simply to pad my existence just a bit-- the equivalent of a soft, warm blanket.
And I have a confession: there are many a night when one could find me lying in bed, concocting elaborate fantasies in my mind. Although I did (regrettably) just see Wolverine the other night, my fantasies are not about Hugh Jackman. They are not about running away with another man, and are not (well, are rarely) about my acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.
During those long weeks in Uganda, as I lie for too many hours to count in my hammock (sick with some sort of exotic ailment), staring at the grass thatched roof above me, I planned out in great detail my 30th birthday party. I thought through about twenty different menus, dreamed up various floral centerpieces, envisioned my tanned, bony, malnourished self looking like a model in a lovely sun dress, and anticipated the fun all my friends & family would have at the party of my dreams.
I wish I could say that I only indulged myself in such a shallow, unconventional fantasy to pass the time or to help fill my belly with something other than rice & beans (which, ironically, we served at my real-life 30th Birthday party when we got home, after eating it for a month straight). The truth is that most of the time, when my mind wanders off into fantasy land, I am dreaming up the perfect meal, the perfect dinner party, or the perfect BBQ in the park. I supposed that dreaming about comfort food is less caloric than eating it.
Lately, both Chris & myself have been living in a future fantasy called Colorado. Considering the amount of times the word Colorado has escaped our lips over the last few months, one would think that we didn't live in on of the top tourist destinations in the nation, or that there was something truly spectacular awaiting us in Fort Collins this summer.
In all actuality, what awaits us in Fort Collins, CO is the glorious, seductive, beautiful opportunity to not be in charge of anything or anyone. We actually get to spend a summer of simply showing up, listening, taking notes, and learning. No contingency plans, no staff meetings to lead, no crisis to fix-- just a lot of BBQ's and dinners to plan. Lovely.
At first, we were heartbroken to learn that our [mandatory] summer assignment would be taking training classes for new directors, rather than leading another ragtag group of college students back to our favorite refugee camp in Africa. But now-- now I know that God is wiser than I am with my future, that Fort Collins is the place for us... and that I will be throwing a spectacular 31st birthday party (possibly with a Mediterranean menu??) in a darling sun dress, with my favorite friends in Fort Collins Colorado. And I have been dreaming about it for weeks.
It's hard to believe that this school year has already come & gone-- that we survived our first year of directing this messy, experimental ministry without anyone dying or firing us. Honestly, despite the fact that I am slowly running out of steam as we enter our last week on campus, this year has been... a privilege. As we wrap up, I look forward to spending time processing all that I have learned & experienced through this whirlwind. And of course, thinking through the dessert menu at my birthday party.