It's the week I'll go to Africa. Sunday is coming both quickly and slow, and similarly to all trips I have gone on, the packing won't be started nor finished until the night before. I've written out a list of things I should do, like edit a specific piece of writing, and send some emails, and buy bug spray and an extra sketchbook and dry shampoo. I haven't gotten around to doing all of these things yet. Instead, this morning I watercoloured sea creatures and thought of stories, and this afternoon I've curled up on my back porch with a book.
I'm trying to recall how I felt last time. It was two years ago now, and I had dreamed of going to Africa for more than half of my life. I remember the weeks before I left for Rwanda: I was riddled with anxiety, hardly eating anything during the days before I stepped on the plane. I stayed in Rwanda for two months and I learned a lot about Jesus, and a lot about me. I turned nineteen there, I was in a wedding, I met remarkable people and saw remarkable things.
This time I'll be going to Uganda, and instead of two months, it'll be for two and a half weeks. I'm not nervous this time, not really, but instead I'm trying to still myself. I don't want to be anxious or afraid, but still. Sometimes I can feel my heart jump around inside of my chest and I get flustered and overwhelmed.
I am determined not to get that way. I want to practice being present, being still, instead of running ahead to what might be, and what might happen. I was never much of a good runner.
So today I'll paint and read, and I'll finish my to-do list, and I'll pack eventually, but I will remain still. And I will remain present. And I will simply be.