Brief - 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I remember the conversation clearly. I was the passenger driving somewhere in Lesotho, a tiny mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa. I was nearing the end of my month-long stay with my college. Throughout the trip I remained excited and exhilarated by being in Africa. The driver, our professor and Habitat for Humanity Advisor, and a Returned Peace Corps volunteer, talked to me while he drove. He asked me: "Have you thought about joining the Peace Corps? I think it'd be a good fit for you."

I don't remember how long I took to respond or if I even thought about the question. I know my answer was a clear no. Two years sounded like an eternity to my 22-year-old self. Two years. I couldn't imagine being gone for that long.

We were in Lesotho the summer before my senior year of college. I needed to be thinking about what life would look like post-graduation. I had some ideas. I knew I wanted to do some type of service year. Perhaps with the church. Perhaps not. I knew grad school was in my future, but not right now.

But the Peace Corps? That sounded too scary. Too long. Too unknown.

If you've known me for any length of time, you know the rest of the story. I did serve in the Peace Corps. I did spend two years living in West Africa.

To this day I continue to give thanks to that professor for seeing something in me that I couldn't quite yet see.

What I didn't know as a college student, what I couldn't know then, was that two years isn't long. It's just a blink of an eye almost.

I think back to those two years, those two brief years in my life. They seem so short now; at times I wonder if they really happened. Did I spend my nights under the African sky, eating from the food bowl, laying with friends and family in the night air. Did I dance freely and laugh deeply. Did I feel intensely. Did I expand my worldview and compassion. Did I learn about hospitality in a new way.

Yes, I did. Those two brief years provided a lifetime of learning. A lifetime of gifts to unearth.

**All month I'll be participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Each day I'll take some time (sometimes 5 minutes and sometimes a little more) to sit down and write. It's about the discipline of writing each day. It's about listening to the words from within. It's about letting creativity work in me. I'll share my writing at some point during the day on my blog. Thanks for reading.