Monday, October 03, 2011

The Lord Knows Where You Are- Even When You are in Cambodia

Everyone kept telling me I looked tired today, so I took a self-portrait to figure out what they were seeing. Not tired. Just looking like a girl in need of a hot shower, blow dryer, and more time with a hair brush!

It is my next to last night in Cambodia, and as I expected I would be, I'm consumed by a million thoughts. One minute I'm contemplating a fresh turkey sandwich, a Jacuzzi tub, and my beloved dog, the next I am wondering if I have done enough work? Have I done enough good? Was a friend to all I met here? Did I serve the people enough? Is there really any such thing as enough?
As we drove home from “work” today, I thought about how my surroundings now feel so normal to me. (see forthcoming post with lots of pictures of our normal drive to and from work) I hate to leave. And yet I can't wait to get home! So many conflicting emotions in one person!
The truth is, if I hadn't gotten so sick last week (where the scale now tells me I lost 6 kilos in one week) I'd probably be more than happy to stay forever. But our little “Christmas break” and the gastronomic fireworks from hell, gave me a bad case of “get me out of here NOW.” And I depress myself with that same thought. I've made some great friends here, and I really will miss just hanging out with them. Its hard to believe we will all be scattering back to our own corners of the earth soon, each calling a different continent home. Thank goodness for Facebook, right?
I can't help but compare Cambodia to Haiti sometimes. In the first few days I was here I was really comparing them non-stop, and thought they were sadly, exactly the same time (in all the worst ways). But now I realize how very different they actually are. Sure there are some interesting similarities on occasion, but I think they are probably pretty common similarities across most developing countries- for instance, a complete and total disregard for traffic or vehicular safety, litter, slums, disregard for women, etc. But just when you think they are the same, you realize they are totally different. Even the mangoes taste better here (sorry, Haiti, but it is true! Mangoes here are far superior!), as are the pineapples and coconuts. I am really going to miss truly fresh juice!
I've wondered for a while now why I felt so strongly to come here. It was a very personal and spiritual moment for me. A major trip to a developing country was just about the furthest thing from my mind when it happened. But through a very personal and spiritual moment I knew I wasn't just going to go on a trip, but specifically that I would be going to Cambodia. We have a new volunteer here who likes to say “the Universe must want...” over and over. I've been known to use the expression “put it out in the Universe” a few times myself. I am now going to make a concerted effort to never use it again. Why? Because I firmly believe that I have free agency and a loving Father in Heaven, and that “the Universe” has nothing to do with it. Sure, I believe that if you “put it out in the Universe,” and by that I mean, you think and focus on one subject enough, that something will come back to you. But not because of the Universe. But because it isn't that hard to figure out that if you think about something enough you can make it happen, even if just subconsciously.
With such a significant spiritual experience leading me to come here, I somewhat expected to have a major spiritual, life-changing experience once I arrived. But I am not surprised that that has not happened. Sometimes the most significant changes do not come with lightning bolt effects. Sometimes they are the results of the tiny seeds that we plant when we aren't even looking. And I do believe that is what has happened with me here. Maybe I will never be able to say, “That was what it was all about. This is what it was all for!” And that is okay with me. In fact, it is great with me. I'm happy to know that I was here at the prompting of the Lord to do so.

"The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millenia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe, has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well."  - Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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