So here it is guys...my last post from New Zealand. I can't believe it. It's time to come home.
The last week has been pretty difficult. I've had to say goodbye to all of the people I've shared the last 4 1/2 months with. I really miss them. They were such good people, such good friends. And they taught me a lot...they taught me about new perspectives, about love, about friendship, and even about God - which is crazy because most of them didn't believe in God.
When you aren't around Christians every second of every day (which I practically was before I came here) you begin to see things and understand things in a new light. It is actually very scary. Because the truth is not everyone knows about Jesus. Not everyone wants to. Not everyone will. And it's hard, because you see these people, these truly good people who you love and cherish and they want nothing to do with God. They think he is silly, that he is some man-made insanity in the sky scaring people into doing crazy things and saying even crazier things. And that makes me angry. And that makes me sad. But at the same time, they have respect for this thing that they don't believe in. They respect me because I believe in him. They love me unconditionally. And this made me really sad, because I know that Christians don't love people unconditionally. I know Christians who would be uncomfortable around my friend Justin becasue he is gay. And that really pisses me off. And then some Christians would want to be his friend, but it would only be because they wanted to see him get saved, because they had this hidden agenda, and not because they genuinely loved him like Jesus does, like Jesus told us to do - he would just be another name on the list.
Honestly I don't blame some of these people for not beliving in Jesus because the only example they have of him is what they see from the Christians around them and the Christians they see on TV. And let me tell you, some of the people who claim to be "Christians," who claim to be followers of Christ do nothing but embarrass him, shame him, and nullify the real reason he died for us in the first place.
I'm obviously not saying this of all Christians, but being here, seeing it from the outside looking in, I can understand how it looks that way. Generalizations are evil, but they happen and they are killing us. They are killing the love that was meant for everyone, not just the people raised in the Bible Belt.
I know I'm going off a bit, but I've been thinking about this for a long time and I need to get it out. I am angry. It's not fair. And it hurts me. And then I get a glimpse into the world of God. How much more does it hurt for him? He is perfect and wonderful and amazing and he wants to offer us everything, but some people won't take what he is offering because they look at what other people are doing with it and they don't want to be a part of it. Oh if only we were capable of loving other people the way God loves us. Then everything would be ok.
So here is a list of the things I have learned in NZ:
1) NEVER RELY ON FIRST IMPRESSIONS
--> So remember my gorgeous flatmate Greg? Yeah, he's an ass. Utterly useless. I'll just leave it at that. I am willing to provide evidence for those who need proof. (I realize that this is not being very loving, and I apologize, but really, some people are a waste of lifeform)
In addition, a couple of guys who I assumed would turn out to be asses were actually two of the most caring and good-hearted people that I have ever met. So really, take a good long look at someone and spend time with them before you create a personality for them.
2) TIM TAMS ARE THE BEST COOKIES IN THE WORLD
--> This doesn't need much explaining. Come to New Zealand or Australia and eat them - lots of them. Yummy yummy for the tummy. Just imagine - chocolate coated chocolate wafer with chocolate cream filling. Amazing.
3) YOU DON'T REALLY NEED TO GO TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD TO BE INSPRIRED.
--> So before I came here I thought that I needed this trip, this adventure, to refuel. I needed to step away from monotony and routine and "find myself." I wanted to get closer to God, I wanted to meet new people, I wanted to firgure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to be inspired. But things didn't really turn out the way I expected - and that's a good thing. I did find out new things about myself - like I'm not a total scaredy cat - and I did meet new people who taought me a lot, and I did get closer to God in ways that I had never noticed before.
But I was wrong in thinking that coming here would show me how to see a different side of God. Because no matter where I go, I will always be there, and better yet God will always be there. And he does not change. No part of him changes. He is the same in New Zealand as he is in the United States, all I have to do is look. If I seek then I shall find. And really I don't need beautiful scenery to inspire me into looking.
But then again I did have to come here to realize that I already had what I needed the entire time.
Ok so now that I've lost about 2/3 of the people who originally began reading this, I'm going to stop the list here and finish it later, when I've had more time to ponder.
I'll have my cell phone with me on Tuesday if you want to give me a ring - I'd love to hear from you!! See you soon!