Jump on in, let’s see if you can swim (Part one- lost your swimsuit?)

“People exist to be loved; Objects exist to be used. The world is in chaos because these things are the other way around.” The 14th Dalai Lama

They say your YAV year is supposed to be a beautiful unordinary year, and let me tell you this first month alone has been way out of the ordinary. That is not to say that this month has been bad, in fact quite the opposite, and I have learned so much already. Let me give you a little rundown of this past month. (in three parts!)

When I arrived in Newark for orientation, one of my bags, filled with most of my clothes and items for the next year in Atlanta, was nowhere to be found. Days went by and the airlines continued to send me the same email “We have not located your bag, but the hunt is still on” until 5 days later when they called me and told me my bag was more than likely stolen and that I would need to fill out a claim form so they could reimburse me.

(Time for a tangent!) Two years ago back at my house in Dallas, while I was away in Chicago for school, my hot water heater exploded and flooded my whole house. At the time my family believed in the house had been destroyed and that the house needed to be gutted. This was extremely hard for me, but throughout this challenge, I grew and learned. Possessions are just things, they do not make us who we are, all that matters is that I am safe and loved, the rest God will make up for.

Meanwhile back at orientation my one bag that made it was filled a few pairs of everything, everything except for any shirts. And upon realizing this my first thought was “Great… I’m going to be known as the guy who never changes his shirt” I told Bridgette, one of the YAV staff, what was going on and immediately she scrounged up a few extra white shirts for me to wear. And then a few days later, the YAV staff showed me even more love, and they sent me to target to restock on a few shirts or anything else I needed. (Shout out to Bridgette and all the YAV staff who helped me, y’all are great!)

Throughout this ordeal of losing my bag, I really saw the power of community and those around you, not only with the YAV staff, people whom I had just met, but also within my freshly met housemates offering me support through laughter while filling out my claim form for the airline. The claim form for the airline was a little ridiculous asking for very specific details of what was in the bag, so my house and I decided to have a little fun with it, writing down joke items I could include;

  • Printouts of every YAV blog from 2006 and on
  • a copy of the bible signed by Jesus
  • All the books of the encyclopedia of Britannica in Finnish

And a few weeks after I got to Atlanta, I went back home for a wedding and upon arrival, I found that a group of my best friends and girlfriend had gone and put together an emergency wardrobe for me to take back to Atlanta with me. (Love you guys!)  This whole debacle to pulled me closer to my new YAV community, old friends and family, and showed me how loved I am and how deep my support system is. The rest is in God’s hands and he provided… some shirts!

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” Timothy 6:7