Friday, January 4, 2008

We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything. –Thomas A. Edison

I’m back from Ukraine. It was a really great trip, better than I expected. It was nice to go back again so soon after my first trip and be more of a “learner” and not so much a “server.” Let me explain. When I went to Ukraine in June, my attitude and goal was more or less to “save the world.” And sure, I’m really happy about the things I did in June, but I’ve learned a lot sense then. (And I still don’t know anything.) People were really surprised in the summer when I got home to hear that I went on my own and not with some service group or organization. And while I spent most of my time serving and volunteering it was nice to set my own agenda and sometimes just sit and observe. This trip in December was just to learn. I quickly learned in December that my attitude in June was somewhat naive and arrogant; to think that this country in Eastern Europe couldn’t survive without the help of us rich, smart, well developed Americans. Ukraine is doing fine. Sure they have problems, just like any other country, including America. But there are a lot of good people there, doing their best to do good things for each other. I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make. I guess just that I’m learning a lot, and the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know anything…so I’ll just keep learning.

There were several times on my trip to Ukraine where I thought, “Life can’t get any better than this.” I think I can honestly say that I was happier in the month of December 2007 than I think I have ever been. It was so amazing to feel so happy and so alive. I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment in my life where I thought; I wish I could freeze time and feel this happy for as long as possible. I had moments like that in Ukraine. It just kept getting better and better. I learned so much about important things in life. Things I want and don’t want, things I’m capable of, my fears, hopes, dreams, goals, beliefs, friends, relationships, my ability to communicate, my strengths and ability to endure. And I learned that I still have a heart. (I was starting to wonder.) And while I did in fact come home broken-hearted, (another blog for another day…maybe), I still wouldn’t change anything about the experience.

The luxurious thing about my life is that I don’t have to prove to myself anymore that I can do anything that I really want to, anyone can. Everything I’m doing now, I’m doing because I love to. I feel good about the direction my life is going, and I’m not scared anymore to try. I realized several months ago that I’ll never succeed at anything until I’m not afraid to fail. I probably would have attempted to do more in my life if I could have gotten over my fear of failure earlier.

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