I’ll start off by saying I do completely believe in evolution. However, I have often defined myself as an agnostic fence sitter that will happily acknowledge others opinions on their faith, but I couldn’t say for certain whether there is, or is not a higher power above that could have caused evolution within the world.
This is why this post feels so odd for me to write, as I’ve found over the course of these few months traveling, my view has begun to change. I’ve only had this conversation with one special person who was completely understanding (we have a mutual acceptance of each others quirks and opinions) and I am so lucky to have such a strong friendship. I know religion will always be a tough topic to discuss, so I hope you all will be as open minded as her and there will be no judgement passed.
There have been a few situations over the course of this journey where I have struggled, and I mean really struggled. Whether that be with how I view myself, how others view me or even how I have chosen to engage with certain situations. Basically, at times I felt like a shit person and there is no short order of people who will probably say that I am, but I am only human and backpacking solo is a tough gig to stick out completely by yourself, whilst remaining sane throughout the process.
The people I always thought I could count on in these times didn’t really make themselves available and have also had some huge life changing moments to deal with, but for some reason or another they didn’t consider updating me. It hurt my feelings and that’s just life, but it made the distance seem greater and my emotions more intense. I felt that no matter the countless times I have been there for a friend or family member, to lend a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen, they still don’t understand how to reciprocate, but that’s ok.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that friends and family always assume I am this strong warrior woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone and has an exterior made of stone. What they often forget is that my heart is as soft as marshmallow. I need to be asked every now and then if I’m ok, not just expect I’ll figure it out, I mean, I will and I always do, but a good cry and some advice helps too! Also chocolate, you can never go wrong with chocolate.
So, back to what this whole post is about and how these events caused a change in my life. There has been a strange vibration I’ve gotten in these hard times. There is a pressure on my shoulders, not negative, but of a supportive and guiding nature. It has felt as if someone is watching and saying it will all be ok. I don’t know if that could be my imagination, a spirit, an angel, or even a God, but to me it felt special. There was a comfort given and it was exactly what I needed.
One day in Rhodes there was a moment when I was unbelievably down. Pity parties are never fun and always a party of one, so I contacted a few of my nearest and dearest to say I was having a bad day. I actually admitted to myself and to them that I wasn’t ok for once, but was surprised how easily brushed off it was by quite a few. Maybe it was a situation of multiple bad timings, but I was crying, and I mean all out blubbering, ugly crying. I was completely alone.
I started begging for someone to connect to in this foreign country over and over again. Something to tell me I wasn’t at a dead end and to keep going. I suddenly felt a heavy weight lift off of me, my chest opened and then I heard a ping on my phone. I had a Couchsurfing message. It was a young German girl saying she was alone in Rhodes and would I like to meet up to spend some time together as she was working on the island as well. I can’t say how much harder I sobbed. I just kept repeating thank you, thank you, thank you because this was someone out there hearing me and making this connection to better my life at that moment.
I guess, not everyone will believe in God, or you’ll have your own version of God to worship, but for me, since that moment I have always felt like things will work out for the better no matter what. Someone or thing has my back, even if it’s not a physical presence in my life like a friend. This has only continued to heighten since my arrival into Jerusalem, Israel. I have never felt so close to my heritage and have a better understanding of why people seek out this country for a unique experience. I now make my own silent prayers when I feel I need someone to talk to. I don’t do this every day, but it helps for positive reinforcement. I ask to help make me kinder and stronger and I now continue to think happy thoughts in my head and say thank you every day for keeping me alive, well and safe.
I never ventured out hoping that spiritual enlightenment would be something I’d find on this trip. Especially being someone who was so adamantly a fence sitter, that often bordered more to the science side, but now I have a greater understanding. Sometimes it is ok to feel as if you aren’t making all the decisions. It’s ok to put faith in a bigger plan guiding you to make sure it’ll eventually all work out. I personally think that’s really nice and I’m a better person to feel this way and have this belief, whether it’s agreed with or not.
♥ Love from Leah