My feet are back on North American soil, yet every crease on my running shoes is still stained with the beautiful red earth of East Africa. This is my portion: For my body to be in one place, and for my heart, mind, and soul to ever carry within it love for the people and places I’ve experienced in my adventures.
This blog reflection is about the danger of engaging, and these thoughts come directly from my time being with the awesome Souls of the Feet team that journeyed with me to Burundi and Rwanda over the last three weeks. Many people travel. It’s not hard to go somewhere. However, there is a marked difference between walking down a road and actually experiencing the road. This team wasn’t just in Africa physically. They were all in. Every moment. Every day. And for that, they paid the price – and reaped the priceless rewards.
When we engage life, it opens us up to a ton of unnecessary risk. We risk being hurt. We risk feeling sad. We risk being misunderstood. It’s much easier to look away when we see something that doesn’t make us feel good. Or to avoid talking to someone when we’re in conflict with them. Or to pass by a homeless person on the street rather than ask them how their day is going. Yet, it is much more deadly to disengage. We we disengage, we miss life altogether.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves