Friday, May 24, 2013

Adventure in Today.

No one dreams of living a meaningless life, therefore we are all haunted by the big questions. What am I doing with my life? What am I going to major in? What am I going to be when I grow up? Who am I going to marry? Where am I going to live? What am I going to do this summer? Where am I going to go to college? Even to the point of what sort adventure am I going to have this weekend? Basically we are all wondering how we are going to impact the world. Leave a mark. Do something that will matter. No one wants to be forgotten.

Asking these questions is good because it shows we don’t want to be just ordinary, but that we long to be the most extraordinary version of ourselves. The tipping point in this dreaming state is being too consumed by the big questions that we become numb to the small questions. We forget the significance in the small adventures, the day-to-day life impacting experiences.

As I near the end of this five month life changing experience with Youth with a Mission I am beginning to hear the questions: What did you learn?

When I look at the experience as a whole I realize I lived one crazy adventure the last few months and I am leaving more of who I was always meant to be than I ever thought imaginable. Reality is adventure changes our lives. Every big adventure impacts us, but as I began to think more specifically, what have I learned while being on outreach in Los Angeles? When I think adventure I think South Africa or Nepal not LA, the place I have lived for several years now.

I was frustrated that the Lord said LA because it sounded like a mediocre adventure not a great adventure. I felt this way because I had outgrown enjoying small adventures. Growing up is so good, but there must be a reason the Bible says to have faith like a child. A child lives for days outdoors creating games of pirate ship on their everyday played on playset. Same playset, but new day, different adventure.

If I have learned anything from doing an outreach in LA it is that every ordinary day is just waiting to be taken as an adventure. Like, that casual Tuesday that Tory and I decided to take a bathroom break at Starbucks and ran into two hippie kids, within hours we all became best friends while simultaneously getting life lessons from the Famous Armenian comedian Playboy Jack that was sitting like a mobster outside of Starbucks with his friends. He loved Jesus because twelve years ago Jesus showed up in his bedroom and he hasn’t touched drugs since. After a lifetime of drug addiction this change was significant. After offering to buy us coffee he told us his story and influenced ours. He exclaimed that he now, “Dances with fear.” Just hearing him say the number twelve struck the childlike cord in me, earlier that morning the Lord had casually highlighted the number twelve while I was reading through his word. It was simple, it was childlike to notice, but it made the whole situation more fun even if it was only more fun for me.

Adventure even to the simplest point only fror one’s own amusement can change a person’s outlook on life if they let it. As I ran this morning I ran up Hill to New York, passing Michigan I ran right into a Lake until I ran smack into Elizabeth who was helping with the casual Nissan Commercial then I proceeded home by running around down Hill to get some Rite Aid to turn home. If you didn’t catch on those were street names that I ran on this morning. So simple, but yet so enjoyable for my own laughter. The Nissan Commercial was happening just down the street from where we live I guess that adds adventure from the perk of living in LA County.

Fear is stripped away when we begin to take notice of the simple joys. Yes, of course, I still ask the big questions. I desire to live in the tension of dreamer and living in the moment. I believe this desire is accomplishable. Noticing each moment’s coincidence could decide your next big adventure. God speaks constantly, if we start listening we learn a lot about our own lives. I wouldn’t be going to Alaska if it were not for this idea. As I felt like I should actually apply for the Alaska fishery job this summer I took it straight to the Lord. Unsure of what he was saying I began to request specific signs to know this is actually where he is leading me deciding that I will be pleased with either outcome. Often this is called casting a fleece. Within three days I had at least five random signs that spoke that Alaska was the next big adventure. It was simple things from people who had no idea what I had been praying about that brought the words that would determine my summer adventure. It was as random as someone asking me if I was from Alaska, to the T-shirt I found for free at a thrift shop saying Alaska without me realizing it until Violet pointed it out, to our speaker being from Alaska.

Many often claim they can’t hear Gods voice, but what if that is because they are looking for the big signs when the small signs are just passing by left and right?

It doesn’t mean going out and seeking the best adventure of every moment, but enjoying the things that come your way when you are living an ordinary day. It is appreciating the conversation that began with a stranger complimenting your overalls that you decided to wear that day. Take simple steps and listen close. Childlikeness is key to enjoying and finding the big adventures for your life. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Faith in Mexico.

Those moments that rip your heart apart when you least expect it are the ones that change your course forever. I never imagined a three-day faith journey in Mexico would impact me this way.

Dropped off in Rosarito, Mexico with four others, no plans, few objectives, little money and no place to stay. We set out on a quest to see what would happen if we trusted the Lord completely. Faith is not always what you expect it to be, I think that may be the point of faith. From the moment we stepped out of the YWAM van at the bus stop until the moment our leaders pulled up to the curb at Wal-Mart three days later as we sipped our last Mexican cokes God showed up and answered our faith in surprising ways.

Once again my story begins with an obscure story of a squirrel. Several days before we set out on this excursion I was asking the Lord what I should write about and I felt as if He was leading me to write about the time I got bit by a squirrel in Canada, the squirrels name was Esteban, this will be significant. Moments after this conversation with the Lord a man came to talk to us about faith journeys before we embarked on ours completely directionless. He told many stories, but ended with a story of him and his friend showing up in San Francisco with no money, no food and no place to stay. As they arrive a man walks up to them, which hadn’t happened much in their sixth month faith journey and offers them all three things food, housing and essentials. Turns out the man’s friend, who is a pastor for the homeless community there had a dream the night before that two squirrels had come to help him. Basically these two guys were the squirrels God had told him about. I chuckled at the fact that the Lord was talking to me about Squirrels.

It didn’t seem too significant until Mariah, Payton, Meaghan, Zachariah and I miraculously made it onto a bus headed to Ensenada due to our little knowledge of Spanish. We had been praying for days that the Lord would send someone who was bilingual and would want to hang out with us. Our charades with people just wouldn’t quite cut it. Although charades managed to come in handy as we prayed for our first injury, a man with crutches. We managed to pray and understand him as he said he was a Christian that believed in miracles. This exchange was quick as we were jumping into the cab that took us to the bus station. Anyway, we needed God to come through or else we were going to look like fools. As we enter the bus a guy behind us responds in English to our question in attempted Spanish. His name… Esteban. DING DING DING. My forewarned about squirrel had just showed up. Not only did he speak English and Spanish he also had nothing to do the rest of the day. So Esteban joined us on our adventures. Within hours of arriving in Ensenada with little plans we managed to get free nonalcoholic margaritas, pray for several amazing people, touch a horse, adopt Jorge the dog, get asked for a kiss by a drunk man, a situation Esteban helped us out of, and finally make it all the way to the YWAM base on the ocean across town. When the time that evening arrived that we had to part with Esteban tears were shed. Our stories now forever intertwined changed our courses.

Even upon entering Mexico my heart felt at home. The dirty chaos makes sense to me. They were not planning to let us stay at the YWAM base but once again through a divine series of events some girls had switched their rooms around the day prior and had space for all of us. It almost seemed too natural the way that God provided food and housing within hours.

I fell in love. I fell in love with the people at the base. Their stories moved me. How God had brought them from all over the world to Ensenada, Mexico was the most beautiful story. I also fell in love with a world much different than my own. We had the opportunity to spend some hours at an orphanage way out of town in a dirty shack filled area in the mountains. To see joy in the smiles of kids living in a hopeless place makes you forget cell phones and social circles exist. There is also this beauty in not understanding each other that counteracts awkwardness amongst friends. Because we are already aware that we do not understand each other the attempt at conversation is so awkward that we can find comfort and understanding in both not understanding the other.

It is a bit ironic, but it actually makes sense. We also don’t have cell phones to hide behind like we often do in America. Poke.  This awkwardness amongst one another in our American society is something we have created ourselves and encouraged by playing into it. I love that you have five thousand friends that want to talk to you right now, but what happened to being present where you are? What has happened to loving those in your path? I wish I lived in a time that when you ran into a friend and it was the best moment because you missed them not awkward because you know you haven’t returned their text all week. Technology has seemed to enhance our friendships, but often times in reality it is just lessening the depth of them. This rant is rant for another time. Being in Mexico reminded me that I am not okay with just acting like society in America because it is what society calls for. I do not need to fit in. My heart found home amongst poverty because to have little is to have faith. To have faith in a place that seems hopeless is a true belief in God. I say I believe in God, but what if my friends didn’t have a way to call me would I still trust him if I felt alone. We are not alone. God is closer than anything. We can trust him with everything. He will provide. These are just a few of the moments we had in Mexico and the reality is I am mind blown that I didn’t sleep on the streets because God managed to work things out. Sure, I could say it is coincidence, but I know where I am putting my faith. It is not in human reason or intuition. These things which are given to us by God, intuition and reason, without him can not stand. God’s revelation is where I now draw from. He is my well. He is in my heart. As He binds our hearts together more and more each day my heart breaks for the world that yearns for more. You know you’re not satisfied without Him.

Leaving Mexico tears were prevalent, first because I was frustrated that I was on a two-month mission trip in America, then because I now know my life will never be the same that it once was. He has moved me in a way that I couldn’t turn from. He revealed to me that although it would have been the quenching of my thirst to help people if I had been in India, it wouldn’t have given him time to move my heart for my friends, family, fellow college students, Hollywood and now the nations.

Mexico proved to me that it is in the dirt I belong. My need for little and my desire for faith has shown me that my life is better in His hands.

As we bused back to Roserito in an end to our trip we had lots of toys left that we had not given away yet. I kept praying that the Lord would somehow bring us kids before we had to meet our team. With an hour left we arrive at Wal-Mart to see a bunch of blow up toys. We asked for kids and God sent us to a bounce house for less than we had thanks to the generosity of the vendors. We played our little hearts out as we befriended some great kids to give our toys to.

I can’t always expect how the Lord is going to show up, but now I see that I can always have faith that He will when I ask. I ask for my life to be one giant faith journey. For this I am ready.    

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Squirrel Story.

I often will return to the moments of significance in my own life and realize it meant more than a mere moment of comedy. I’ll explain, I take us back to the time I spent in Canada. My days consisted of working in the kitchen for about nine hours and doing behind the scenes stuff for the campers at night. Basically I was pretty nameless and faceless learning to serve others while running after the Lord with all of my being. While residing in Canada I was taken from my ordinary life due to no cell reception or wifi. It was brilliant. My soul needed to be reunited with its maker in a forest in Canada with no contact with the outside world. One day I woke up, congregated with Kathleen who also never attended breakfast thanks to our afternoon shift in the kitchen. We read Jesus calling, talked, drank coffee and walked into the kitchen not a minute too early or too late. The day seemed ordinary, until the moment Scott the work crew kid walked in and changed my camp fame for life. Before I inform you of his destiny changing words I must inform you of a camp tradition that had taken place for some time now. Esteban was a squirrel. Esteban loved stealing food from the back room in the kitchen. The kitchen staff had one single objective for the summer: to capture Esteban. Few people had had face to face encounters with him, but they believed a full surrender of the squirrel’s motives were nearing.

Who would have guessed that the casual kid from eastern Washington, who barely did Younglife and is still uncertain of how she landed this job would accidentally be the one to step into this long devised plan and fulfill it.

Back to that causal day two, when you work at camp days are ran by numbers not days of the week, Scott walks in the back door before entering the main part of the kitchen there is a small room that contains a washer, dryer and a few other housekeeping items, it is separated from the main kitchen by a small wall.  As he walks past the small room into the main kitchen I am the first person he runs into. A bit stunned he points into our laundry room saying a squirrel just ran in. In the midst of cutting lettuce I stop what I am doing and casually respond, “Oh, its just Esteban.” Without thinking I proceed to go back to the small room on the other side of the small wall divider. Immediately I spot him. Esteban there on the garbage can. Approaching with little caution I was expecting to just scare him out of the kitchen, but the next series of events are somewhat a blur, but to my closest recollection I will tell them as best as I can. I near the garbage can that resides in the back corner, Esteban is sitting on the lid I reach out to swat him, but instead manage to capture him with my hand! Shocked I look down at a rabid squirrel that is equally as shocked to be in my hand. Squirming like a madman, he finally positions himself and takes a nice chomp on my hand. As the pain and realization that Esteban just bit me moves from my finger to my mind I involuntarily react by throwing him at the wall that is shared with the main kitchen. Caught up in my own world of confusion I barely hear the screams from the other side of the kitchen reacting to the squirrel that was just flung through the air and hit the wall.

In a swirl I enter into the kitchen to see Carly my intern screaming and freaking out. As I attempt to wash my bloody hand she rushes me to the Nurse, who said that she has never seen a scenario like this before. I then had to call my mother on an emergency phone to ask if I had had my tetanus shot. I had. I was not going to turn into a rabid squirrel.

Long story short I was famous around camp within minutes. I went from a nameless faceless kitchen slave to that kid that got bit by a squirrel. From this scenario even in all its obscurity I learned to not seek fame for one’s self, but if you are to become famous a squirrel will probably come into where you are and find you. Or God. As I live obediently and pursue Him daily I can trust that the big things will come into play if I am walking out what He is saying to me. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others,” Philippians 2:3-4. To be serving others is the best place to be. I don’t think we need to be afraid to ask God for the big things, but don’t be discouraged if all you can see is dishes in the backroom. God knows you. Love Him, love others. Trust Him with everything and serve others when your squirrel of fame arrives you’ll know, be patient and obedient every step of the way.

The best part of all of this was when I returned home and told my father about the whole ordeal, his response, “That happened to me once!”

I am my Father’s daughter. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Circus Misfits.

Curiosity leads, but thirst becomes desperate. A new understanding I face, a new thirst I will quench in an unsuspected way.

"As I walk up to the tent overwhelmed with its size, recollecting my thoughts of how when I was young I would wonder and wonder how they managed to get this white and red striped tent so high. I imagined I would have an answer to this question one day, but even with all I now know this tent lifted so high amazes me. It seems to almost defy gravity from my perspective on the ground. Something that massive shouldn’t be able to stand with so few poles.

Overtaken I was with the amazement of this difficult to categorize sort of structure, but really consider it, a tent is not a building, but when you enter in you are in a new world that is separated by only thin fabric. After thoroughly over processing the existence of the structure before me, I slowly proceed forward. Before stepping inside to see the craziness that I anticipate to come, I treat myself to one last glance at what the outside contains. My memory seems to serve me wrong as before I saw this wasteland as a wellspring it now only looks like what it is-- a wasteland. When did my eyes open up? Suddenly I can’t even taste the memories of joy this desert brought to me. Now I thirst for water, but the only answer anywhere is this tent. This Circus tent is my answer. This surprises me as it doesn’t even seem that appealing either, but I see that is my only option. I whisper, "yes," in agreement that it must be better than what I am leaving behind. To remain in a wasteland or to proceed into something that the world has deemed as a freak show in this moment my mind debates its options. I guess I have chosen freak show over complacency. The trade didn’t seem all that empowering, but this is when trust becomes the greatest must. I have run out of options and my throat runs dry. If the only ones to help me have three arms or are mustached women, so be it.

I lift up the flap expecting weight, but quickly realize the weight has already left back in the desert in my indecisive state.  Entering in, easier than expected. I see them performing for no crowd. My heart clings automatically to two quick emotions the first is the one that the world left on me as an impression to feel. The resounding gong of voices from memories past scoff at them assuming they are not talented due to their lack of interested audience members.  The second emotion is the one I commit to, but must fight for to remain. I struggle to silence the emotion first heard in my head to hear clearly what really needs to be said, for their sake. They are deserving and talented. Being silenced by voices that speak what they don’t know. Unaware that their talent is valid, it’s creative, it’s new. These remain empty because someone spoke negatively and it caught like a fire that burns rather than the fire that could ignite a change. One fire brings life. One fire brings pain. As I sit alone observing I yell at the words of the world in my head and say, “NO MORE.” I decide I am in I support them. As I sit alone in the corner I say it out loud. “I support them. They are capable. They are talented.” I slip a small smile as hope escapes my lips. The light suddenly spotlights me. In fear I begin to mutter into silence instead of strengthening what I have just decided. They look at me in unbelief. Hope long gone, but joy is not lost in their eyes. Then one walks forward. They know in their hearts they can do it, but their fear is the outside. The outside doesn’t allow their innermost thoughts of capability to be set free. To allow an insider in and tell them they can is nowhere in their plan. They have become content with remaining silent. The one that walks forward is the only performer who trusts me. Everyone looks at me assuming I’ll run back to where everyone else had come and run back to from. He hands me three balls and nods in approval. He knows I’m ready. I’ve stayed and I’ve come. A thousand thoughts then silence, as I stand up. Awkward and slow I throw each ball in the air. I looked at them in disapproval when I walked in the door. I assumed they were bad because they had no audience, but at least they were doing it here I am fearful in front of them stumbling through it. My own talent I hide to judge others acting like I’m on the inside, when really I am just like them. I am them. It dawns on me. It is my own fear I must overcome to take confidence in my ability and drop what the world would think if I joined this circus. The circus seems weird, crazy and strange, but what if it was my calling. What if no one understood would I still stand center stage? It hits me, light bulb of the mind. I look them in the eyes jump the barrier face the empty crowd. I shout, “I’m in!” and I begin to juggle again."

As I began I was just observing, but now I remain a deserving circus character. 

As I reflected on what this meant to me I realized he did this for me. Jesus was God, but he left his position to look like a human. He spent time understanding our culture, as he joined us even when no one believed him he knew who He was. He sacrificed what the world thought of Him to fight for the side that would win.

We are the misfits. We are the crazies. Our talents are hidden. We fear the world, but make fun of those who are doing it. Yah, but at least they are doing it. Why aren’t you doing it? What is holding you back? If Jesus can sacrifice his Godly status in heaven to be like us to understand and to give it all up and die can’t you say yes to who you were always meant to be? You’re going to love it anyway. No reason to hold back your outcome ends in a win not in a cross, and grave dying for everyone else’s sin.

I was always meant for this I can't even try to deny it.

Amber Marie meaning a precious jewel in the sea of bitterness. He knew my name and He meant it on purpose. I step out. I’ll pursue it. I’ll do it. What is your dream that you’re hiding? Lets bring the misfits together and create a new endeavor. Even if our only audience is him I perform to my very best. 

Send me to the circus even if I am alone, if the world doesn’t get it, I am not really on my own. He laid it all out for me to be totally free, I’ll lay it all out for him acknowledging I may not always win, but the end is already done in this new race of creative unafraid misfits abandoned I run. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This One Time I Had Dreads...

Dreads: The Social Experiment.
What I learned from having dreads. If you care at all about the social theories of a dread head let your curiosity proceed.

It all began on one windy day on a boat in Canada. Truthfully it began a few days prior to that in a bead shop with three of my closest friends. While picking out friendship beads to put in our hair the matter of dreads arose and I responded,
 “Hey, yah I should do dreads.” Then Niki Responds,
 “Okay I’ll do it for you.” She wasn’t kidding. We began this adventure while working at the Younglife camp in Malibu, Canada. It quickly became a group project with the help of our friends, including even Bob Goff, but the majority of the dread entry into the world was done on our departure from camp on the boat named The Princess, oh the irony. Many people have asked me over the last nine months if I have at all regretted having dreads. There were several occasions that I “dreaded” dressing up because dreads brought a different sort of obstacle to looking fancy, but there was really only one moment I regretted it. That moment was the night before I left Canada, the dreads were about half way done as I fell asleep a panic came over me, “WHAT AM I DOING?!” I thought to myself with the half dreaded mess I was. I considered all that I was giving up: being pretty, boys flirting with me, control, caring what others thought about me. At that moment I decided I am no longer trying to be any boys perfect girl, I no longer want to be controlling. I asked that the Lord would use it to teach me. Teach me it did.
Back to the moment on the boat when fifteen of my friends each cut a chunk of their hair off to be dreaded in: yahhhhhh. The Pamoja Pamoja dread which means together together in Swahili. As we finish the last dread I was nervous to look at myself, but so excited for this extreme change my soul had been craving. I look at the crew,
“You look like Donny from Wild Thornberrys!”
It hit me at that moment I had a decision to either get embarrassed by such a comment or take ownership of it. Lesson one of dreads: To be confident in who you are no matter what you look like or what other people think. I responded by making the noise of Donny Thornberry. Joy overcame me as I learned my first dreadful lesson.

After my mother found out I had dreads and was not pleased, she consoled herself by remembering she had raised an independent daughter who enjoyed social experiments. She was correct. Having dreads was the social experiment of a lifetime. If you interacted with me in the last nine months you probably didn’t realize you were being observed for data of the curiosity of how humans react to dreadlocks in different scenarios. You were all very amusing.

My hometown, Tri Cities, Washington reacted brilliantly, my friends at home greatly enjoyed this change. Not surprised by my extreme endeavors and even more intent on being friends with the kid with dreads. I actually met more people at home than I ever had in that month because dreads are a social device that allow anyone and everyone to feel allowed to ask you questions at any time. My mother decided she would no longer go to the grocery store with me because everyone just stared. To see a normal looking teenage girl that wasn’t on drugs, but had dreads was quite a paradigm shift for most. The real intensity of my social experiment really took place when I moved back to Southern California. One might think dreads would be more acceptable there because of the diverse culture, but it really just categorized me. Everyone looked at me with many assumptions. On occasion even my closest friends would just assume I didn’t care about anything. Dreads bring this persona of an “I don’t care about anything, just go with the flow,” sort of attitude. Although I am quite a type B personality I found myself fighting to be taken seriously. I simultaneously lived in frustration and pleasure due to dreads. While walking the street once I smiled and nodded to a businessman who actually got off the sidewalk to walk away from me, two seconds later I walked next to a homeless man, who stopped to say hello to me. Reaching a new world of people just by my outer appearance: fascinating.

Assumptions dreads cause: No one ever assumes you are flirting because dreads are an automatic friend zone ticket. This was frustrating for me at first because I realized I was giving up boys even noticing me. Hit my pride a few times, but a lesson I needed to learn. I also learned that if a boy was talking to me it was a lot more genuine friendship because he didn’t look at me think to himself, “She’s not a potential,” then move on to a pretty girl. I met a good amount of genuine people with dreads. The genuine people were interested in me as a human being and were not just talking to me for their selfish gain. Many people taught me how to be a genuine friend to any sort of person through this. Because I no longer was a competitor to be the most beautiful in the room, not that I was before but you’ve met girls. I had to depend only on my personality. I began to use dreads in my favor, I could now talk to anyone on a casual level. Friendship exploded in my world. People assumed I was interesting. Didn’t matter if I was actually interesting or not it was a good trick because awkward conversation just went away as everyone could always revert to asking me about my dreads. Ironically, I met some of the most interesting people in the last nine months, but my theory is that the most interesting people are not into how interesting they are. Instead, they are more curious about the world, creativity and other people. Dreads are intriguing. Interesting people were drawn to me and I lucked out with some of the coolest people in the world as my friends thanks to dreads.

Beauty became a much-discussed topic in our mod (my house at college). The girls I lived with were in my opinion three of the most beautiful girls on campus and then there was me the scraggigly kid with dreads. My opinions changed during this time. At the beginning of dreads I had become judgmental of people who did their hair and make up thinking I was better because I accomplished getting over needing to do these things. I repented of criticism and being judgmental. My roommates taught me so much of what beauty looks like on the inside. Yes many boys think they are beautiful but I don’t even think these guys realize that the real reason they are so beautiful is because they are truly beautiful inside and out. Just because I didn’t wear make up or do my hair I could no longer judge anyone who did, I was not better than them. It was just different. Beauty is not defined by the outside, but it can be an expression of the soul. People get so caught up in outer beauty that they never get deep enough in themselves or in their hunt of the opposite sex to really satisfy their need for beauty. My new theory is if you are dissatisfied with your outer beauty you should probably start learning how to beautify your heart. It is the beauty of your heart that will flow out of you. I also think it is when you start getting to know people for who they are that you find true beauty.

Compliments received by me changed from “Your so pretty,” to “Your so cool.” This is generally speaking, of course, but I have become very fond of this change because cool is much more a judge of character than solely an outer appearance only sort of compliment. Not that I am the best at receiving compliments, but I feel as if people had to go deeper to give me a compliment. It was more genuine. It meant more to me. There would still be people here and there that would attempt to give a compliment of my appearance. I placed them into two categories. There were the people that would tell me I was pretty because they thought I didn’t think I was pretty and needed to hear it. Therefore I am not sure if that was genuine but still appreciated. Then there was the category of people that would compliment my outer appearance, but then end it in the words, “but seriously.” They wanted to emphasize that they actually meant it.

Basically this whole experiment forced me to see beauty through a new lens. Confidence and security are beauty, not if your hair lays perfect everyday if that works out for you then I say congrats you have accomplished what most of the girl population has been striving for forever, but it doesn’t define you.

Other dreadful things to note were I was offered weed approximately ten times more than before, when my response to people was “I don’t smoke,” jaws dropped. My existence was an oxymoron for many people.  I also met a number of hippies who could not grasp the fact that I was a Christian and had dreads. That seemed impossible to them. Welcome to breaking stereotypes 101. There were an array of reactions to my having dreads and a brain as well. To some it made sense to others it confused them. Often hippies are the most philosophical people in the world so my conversations with those types broadened my horizons and thoughts. At one point during my time in Hawaii with YWAM I got into a philosophical conversation with a very intelligent teacher. He was taken back by the things I knew. The dreads often tell the generation before us that we don’t care about anything so to care about history and knowledge is something. I am not the most brilliant kid on the block, but I do care about learning. Finding myself breaking stereotypes even from those older than me, I had to fight to be taken seriously, but when I was it was always a great conversation.

There is also an unspoken world of dread connection. If I were to see someone else with dreads anywhere at anytime we could look at each other and nod. The simple nod spoke volumes of our understanding for one another’s lives even though we had never met. The way we see life was similar because of the world’s reactions to us so we knew we were on the same team. I could be spilling the secrets of this genre of people, but many of you have probably seen it and never realized. People with dreads just understand each other. Your missing out, but it is really in any sort of scenario that a commonality unites people. My theory is that you probably have one sort of connection with everyone so friendship with anyone is a possibility.

When it comes down to it dreads taught me a lot about the world. My curiosity for human beings has thickened and why I love people is revealed more everyday. Having dreads inspired me to be friends with anyone and break any sort of awkward social barriers with a simple conversation. Even in the frustrating times I learned so much and I have no regrets. Even when my grandma told me I shouldn’t do it again. It feels good to break social norms and prove that things can be different than they are right now.

Now that they are gone I miss them, but cutting them was a moment of freedom, walking into a season to grow and not be stunted by tangles. I’m thankful for all I learned and I walk forward with no regrets.

I will always be pleased about that one time I had dreads.