For those of you who don’t know, I’m preparing to go to Beijing, China in February and stay through July. It’s becoming more real to me, as I had a ton of paperwork to gather and email today. It’s kinda funny how reality sets in only once the stress rears its ugly head. Yes, paperwork is kinda stressful for me, especially when I don’t have the forms to fill out in the first place.
Anyway, what I really wanted to address about China is that, on more than one occasion people have asked me what I’m running from or why I’m running away. Usually it’s people who know what my struggle with depression has been like. I’ve heard things like, “You can run, but you can’t run from yourself,” or “Don’t you think the depression will follow you to China?” And yes, I have heard statements like this from adults, professionals, doctors. Maybe you’re reading this now and you totally agree with them. You’re thinking, “Yeah Jess, why are you running?” Thanks for your concern, and here’s why…
Here’s the truth: I’m not running. Yes, I am leaving school, my family, and my friends. I am taking a small hiatus from my life here. But why does that mean that I’m running? Just because I’ve been suffering with depression doesn’t mean that I make all of my life choices based on that. While depression may affect aspects of my life, it doesn’t control my life, and it’s not who I am; it does not define me as a person. I know that people care, and I really do appreciate that; please don’t think that I’m just complaining.
But the truth of the matter is that I’m going to China because I believe it will help with the depression. I believe that it will provide me with the opportunity to be the person that I really want to be. For the past three and a half years that I’ve spent at Mercer, I have made some wonderful memories and I have enjoyed learning new things. However, my heart wasn’t always in it. I had to constantly remind myself to be present and minister where I was in this time of my life. Yet, I’ve always looked forward to things like travel, service, having a family, etc. I MADE IT! I’m here on the precipice of something big, and NO I’m not running away. I’m finally running towards something that I will hopefully be doing for the rest of my life: travel & service. I’m not running away from myself, rather I am embarking on a journey to find myself. Yes, I get nervous at times, and I do realize that I will still have to manage the depression, but for the most part I am excited and eager. Those are feelings that I haven’t felt this intensely in a while. I mean this is CHINA.
So, why am I running? I’m running to explore China, to discover new things about myself, to meet new people, to serve others, and to go on the journey of a lifetime! How can you not be on board with something like that? It’s all about the journey and running down a new path, and I can’t wait. Stay tuned, because I think it’s going to be tremendous!