To me, hope is a powerful thing. It is a promise of the good things to come. When I hear the music of the future, it is a happy melody, even if it isn’t a simple one. I look at my year to come and hear a complex melody with interwoven harmonies and a strong African drumbeat giving it life. I hear it coming not from a concert hall, but from homes, churches, and schools around the world. There are voices joining in; voices of children, parents, friends, and strangers all lending their stories to shape mine.
I do not worry about the things I hope for. Worrying about them makes them feel wrong, like an overdue task that’s uncompleted or waking up just before the alarm goes off. Instead, I look forward to them. I hope for the culture and sights I will see on my 8 hour bus ride from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma rather than worrying about only one bathroom stop and being the only one on the bus not speaking Swahili. I hope for a school filled with teachers all as eager to teach as I am and students who really enjoy learning. I hope for experiences that will allow me to grow as a person and will stretch my faith and make it stronger and deeper. I also hope for my fellow YASCers, that their years will take the amazing people each of them are and fill them up with great things.
All of this, however, takes faith, which is not as easy to have as hope. Faith IS courage. It takes a certain amount of bravery to make all of this happen. I know that it would be much easier to stay at home and continue down the path I am on. Easier, but not better. Without faith, it is impossible to act and without acting, it is impossible to grow.
On Friday morning, I will do something that, for me, will take a great act of faith. I will say goodbye to my family, friends, and the life I know, step on an airplane, and leave it all behind for a year. I will act in a way that leads me toward the things I hope for. I am glad to have you joining me in this journey! Faith is not something intended to be handled alone. When shared, it grows stronger, like the shared light of a candle. Plus, it is easier to dance with a partner.