The last and final blog for March is written by DM. D is a senior this year and will be graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies. She desires to be a missionary journalist. A fun fact about D is that she ran over herself once.
The early morning flight from Indiana to Minneapolis began my summer internship in Asia. I stepped aboard the undersized plane with shaky legs and found my seat situated between the window and a small Asian woman, absorbed in her magazine. As I sat, I prepped for the mental torture of being 40,000 feet above sea level. God created me to reach only the staggering heights of 5’ for a reason.
To relax I read the safety instructions and imagined myself, in the event of a crash, heroically performing lifesaving techniques printed on the 5×7 card. In a moment of psychosis I considered hopping off the plane and quitting altogether.
Instead I introduced myself to the woman beside me, named Maria, with bobbed black hair and brown eyes enlarged by her glasses. She was on a cross-country trip for her niece and nephew’s graduation. After Minneapolis she’d be off to Seattle!
She beamed at hearing about my internship. “I’m from the Philippines,” she said, “I moved here when I was 23 for school.” She worked as a nurse for years and once she retired she returned to the Philippines for missions.
“You have an exciting life,” I commented. She laughed.
“I started to travel only recently, in Texas I went to a church that was going on a mission trip to Manila and needed another woman and I said ‘I’ll go!’.”
I listened attentively.
“I loved it so much, I try to go back as much as I can. It changed my life, I started to want to live,” and that is when dear Maria turned to me and asked my age.
“Ah,” she sighed, “you are so young, I wish I did this when I was young.”
I was baffled! She left home for school in another country! “But I was very afraid!” she insisted, “I was so nervous about employment, money, health, family! I should have engaged life more! If you don’t engage life, it is not living.” She turned to me, her large eyes shrunk as her glasses slid down her nose. “If I can give you one advice before you go,” she lifted her hand and pointed one carefully polished nail at me, “engage life with hope.”
Her finger dropped and her gaze shifted to the seat in front of her, “I spent so many years afraid, nervous about everything, but I have found in these last few years that if I engage life with hope, I trust in God, because He is our Lord, I hope in Him and I find myself at peace. I am at peace because I hope in God, and I engage life with that hope.”
Her words of wisdom were so beautiful and simple; even now I think of them often. Four simple words which changed the way I looked at my summer and still changes the way I look at life.
Engage life with hope.