When I tell people I’m not yet going to college – that instead I’ll be living in Senegal for a year – the response is quick and strong. Sometimes I get fearful shrieks and confused narrowed eyes. Not everyone, of course. Some people react calmly, with wide-mouthed awe, and tell me their own nostalgic stories. Yet behind every response is one massive question: why?
That would be an easy question to answer if this year would change the world. But it won’t. I won’t “fix Africa”, won’t get rid of Ebola, and won’t save any children from eternal damnation.
But through this year I might learn how to gracefully have authentic cross-cultural relationships, speak confidently in another language, and become seriously acquainted with life in a non-Western society. This year might become part of my story. The people and experiences I have might become woven into what I learn and how I live and work. By seeing raw daily life I might better know what unique thing I can offer through training in public health, or how mission trips through my future churches could be more holistic. How I exist in this world and how I care for others in it might be made better. That’s why. This bridge year is an opportunity brimming with potential bigger than myself.
So, this year I will work hard to change those mights into reality. This blog will be the story of the mights, of how I fail and succeed, and of how it’s way more complicated than that.