my entire bedroom has an orange-pink glow to it as the sun sets. it’s warm & calming. i’m under the covers, computer’s on my lap, and the cat is trying to figure out where she is gonna settle down – or if she’s gonna settle down. i tackled and accomplished most of my to-do list today, and i’m feeling pretty good about that; but i have another one waiting for me tomorrow. filled with new & exciting things…
yes! i’ve got a few meetings filling up my morning. one of which is to plan a theme and activities/classes/moments of reflection & discussion for the camp that i am working next week. it’ll be good to get some things decided, then i can really focus on specific details = what i’m gonna talk about with the youth/how i am gonna plan some mentoring/opportunities for spiritual moments during the camp.
then, my 3rd meeting of the day is with a woman from somewhere in the middle east (i can’t remember where). she moved here during the past year with her husband and has been studying swedish. i met her in the fall and she was working really hard, but could not talk in swedish. i saw her last week and wow, what a difference! she has really picked up a lot of swedish. impressive. but, the really impressive thing is that during the summer, while she has a break from swedish classes, she is studying english. but, she’s really unsure of her english and wants to be better, understanding that it is important for her to know english since it’s spoken all around the world. well, we were chatting with each other and i offered to meet her once a week to just talk in english with her and help her with her english assignments, if she wants. so, tomorrow, we have our first little tutoring session at the cafe in the church where i work. i’m really excited! i can easily help people with english, and i’ve offered it to other teenagers or adults before, but this is the first time it’s actually happening. why not help with what i can?! can’t wait to meet her tomorrow!
on a related note, this morning i got my little email from the universe & it said this:
It’s not how much one gets paid, Liz, but how much they give, that makes them rich. Bling, bling ~ The Universe
wow. how true that is. and how rich i feel when i am able to know & use who i am to try to make a difference somewhere. when i know who i am, follow the beat of my heart, and listen to my soul, then opportunities just come. and ironically, the more that i am true to myself, the more life becomes about how i can be used. you’d think that it’s selfish to listen to your soul, to follow your own dreams. but, instead, it is freeing. whenever i find that i focus inward, seeking peace for myself, i find that i am thrust out into the world even more – and perhaps can be used to create peace. the reason for that is, i believe, because of our connection as humans. the more i am in touch with my true self, my inner self, the divine spark within… the more i am in touch with others. the spark is the same in us all. in other words, love and peace is what we all seek. and i do not have true love and peace unless my neighbor does too.
two weeks ago i had a weekend camp retreat for my youth. one of the things that i didn’t mention in my previous posts was a connection i made with two older teenagers from the middle east. the two teenagers live in a group home because they are refugees from their home countries. they’re here in sweden on their own. refugee children. without their families.
well, a man who works with them contacted the church where i work to ask if there was any work that we could do together… if there was anything that we had to offer these teens. the other minister i work with suggested this camp. so, after a meeting and some email contact, 2 of the teens who live at this home came to the camp. they were amazing and fantastic, and i was so impressed. they were in a completely new setting, surrounded by swedish youth & adults (and me!) they had never met before, experiencing things they had never experienced before. and yet, they were kind, friendly, outgoing, and simply wonderful to have during the weekend. i felt so blessed and thankful that everything worked out – at least that’s what i thought.
then i got an email from the man who works at the group home. he attached a letter that one of the teens had written (in really good swedish!) about the weekend. as i read this 17 year old’s words, tears streamed down my face. he wrote that he felt welcomed, appreciated, needed, and he had a great time. he commented on what we did, how he felt, and that he sees these youth now as his sisters & brothers.
folks, this is how world peace is created. by simply being together. these 2 teens are muslim & from the middle east. we were all westerners, coming from a christian perspective. but none of that mattered at all because we all accepted each other as we were. that was how determined we would be. and all the teens followed right along. brothers & sisters. all accepted. all respected. i am overwhelmed and humbled that we had a chance to meet these incredible, strong teenagers. you’d better believe we are already planning how we can continue to work together & support each other, because they have plenty to offer us. it’s not just about us giving them help. i can’t even begin to explain the love & joy they gave us.
these are the moments in life when i remember why i am here. and by here, i mean alive. on this earth. i remember that my quest for peace is real and important. and that hope does exist. just get 16 amazing teenagers together from different places in the world and watch them love each other. there is a ton of hope for this world. and i am so very amazed that my work (whether it’s writing or the work i am paid for) allows me to focus on finding ways to work with others in order to help this world be the place it was always meant to be.
with all my heart and soul, i wish you a day, a week, a year, a lifetime full of moments of peace and love.