fresh eyes

When I got the list of immunizations I would need to travel to Ethiopia, I didn't even read them. I skimmed right past that section and moved on to the rest of the informaiton in my prep packet. I don't need to get shots... I've lived in Africa. I haven't gotten travel immunizations since I lived in America and made short-term trips around the globe. Oh wait.

Sometimes I seemingly forget. I'm once again living in America, taking short-term trips around the globe. So I promptly scheduled my appointment. (It's today at 10:30, by the way.) {EDIT: It's been rescheduled for next Tuesday afternoon.}

I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, this is just a surfacey reminder of how I've been approaching not only this trip, but this entire season of my life. And of how I need to start looking at things differently. Or rather start seeing things the way they actually are.

This Ethiopia trip isn't old hat. This isn't "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".

My life experiences up to this point make me who I am, but they don't negate the current and future experiences on my journey. And they certainly don't trump them.

The faces I'll see in Ethiopia, the villages I'll visit, the poverty I'll witness, the unshakable pains my heart will feel... they will all be new. Familiar maybe, but still new.

I don't want to glance over poverty because I've seen it before. I don't want to overlook those I encounter because I think I already understand. I don't want to ignore what's right in front of my face because I feel like it holds lessons I've already learned before.

Each person I meet has a story I haven't yet heard, dreams I haven't even imagined, and a present-day reality that is just as real as mine is.

Each person has more to give me than I could ever give them.

I want to listen with new ears, see with fresh eyes, feel with a still-tender heart.

So I am choosing to go as a learner, not a teacher. As a listener, not a speaker. As one who holds closely, not at arms' length.

With eyes and heart wide open.

So I don't miss a thing.

Right now, look at what's around you with fresh eyes. What do you see?