dear world // catherine + jules,
Okay, I’m glad Catherine mentioned being a little scared. Recently, when people ask if I’m excited for Spain, I think of how I can tell them I’m a bit terrified without sounding like an idiot. In moments of panic, I think about students going missing and being suspended in the air for several hours and not knowing enough Spanish and violence in other countries. These thoughts are most embarrassing as I read news about people in the United States facing discrimination and violence. These thoughts are most embarrassing as I share statistics about the likelihood of dying in car crash versus dying in a terrorist attack (you’re more likely to die from heart disease than either of the two). If there are as many reasons to panic about walking around my neighborhood, my fears about being abroad seem stupid at best and potentially harmful at worst given the current social and political climate that promotes xenophobia.
But then, I finally got around to reading the book Jules got me for my birthday: Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. There’s a part in the book where Nadia feels compelled to speak out against racism and gun-violence, but struggles because she doesn’t always live her “activism” on a daily basis (think of the people who share articles from the Atlantic on Facebook but are relatively complacent on issues offline). Anyways, Nadia writes,
“I told them there had been a million reasons for me to want to be the prophetic voice for change, but every time I tried, I was confronted by my own bullshit. I told them I was unqualified to be an example of anything but needing Jesus.”
She goes on to explain that no one really benefits from her being a perfect example of Good™. Instead, when she’s honest about how much and how often she fails, there’s so much more opportunity for growth. I read this and thought: if Good People™ struggle with this, then maybe I’m not just horrible and alone in moments of panic.
At the end of the day, I’m going to Spain because I think struggling with my fear and inconsistencies and even the reality of risks is worth the opportunity to practice my Spanish and learn and share moments with others (and because I desperately need to leave my house and the full-time nanny aesthetic that I adopted over the last several weeks). And so I’m a little scared. And I’m also willing to live in that space for a bit.
*this is weirdly serious at parts and not like a super lighthearted travel blogpost, but y’know, whatever.
** bless the “Ode to Wine”