Envelop Zeal

I walked through the door to the familiar classroom. My emotions in disarray and my soul absolutely beat. My back shuddered with pain as I took my place standing at the back. I watched as the professor paced back and forth sharing the different stages of culture shock and stress. I listened with intent, but could barely see past the images in my own head. As pointed out in statistics, I am the minority in my experience of traveling. I thrive other places in the world, and in the States I have trouble finding the feeling of being content. The emotional detriment of returning to a place that my soul has never really enjoyed perhaps made the shock of returning worse. As I sat bundled in fifty layers of jackets next to the heater, I can recall the pain and tears of what it looked like coming back home. I felt alone in my struggle. I felt alone in the city that never resembled a home. Weeks passed with my body decaying under the emotional pain of leaving a country that I felt I belonged in. The pain of being separated from my soul sister, and the uncertainty of when I would ever be able to return weighed upon my shoulders. My heart bled with trying to come to terms with the change I had been thrown into. Even grocery stores were shocking and stressful. Everything moves so fast in the States. Life moves at a rushed pace that ignores the delicacy of life. Time is slipping with obligation and expectation. Disenchantment fills the day as the hours move from eight to five. I watch. I listen. I see. I see a life that perhaps is not for me.

Many of you have followed my sojourner journey through the highs and lows of discovery. It is the time in my journey that begins to question the way life moves and whether I can be a part of a culture that seeks success over relationships. I used to be able to move the quick pace of life, but I had to grieve the reality that my health could no longer keep up with it. The days of spitting up on the track with tears streaming down my face trying to accept the fact my body failed my mind. My capacity was cut in half. Even after my many travels, I noticed that those who did intense emotional work, now have chronic fatigue. And here I am at the age of twenty-one battling the same issue. Seemingly before I even have begun to act upon my desire for global change.

Yet beyond all of the pain, the sickness, and the continual feeling of fatigue, I get up in the morning. As I move slowly to not upset my spinal chord, I move to the practice of yoga. The beginning stages of accepting the body of pain that I have been given. My pain is nothing in comparison to many. I have the blessing of being able to walk, to move, and to dance. Despite the winces of pain as I move incorrectly, I press on. I center my mind to listen to my body. To walk out the door with my eyes looking to the sky. A sky so vast and unfamiliar to me as it stretches across the world. Reaching cultures I have never seen or experienced. But I hope to one day know. Whether I am able to return to Thailand, or I am called to other places in the world, I know that my sojourner heart is ready to be somewhere new. Somewhere that accepts my sensitive heart for what it is, and I am able to spread out my arms fully accepting the culture enveloping me. The possibilities are endless for what comes after my undergrad graduation. I can only hope the future brings life giving experiences that welcome my laughter, my heart, and the simplistic understanding that my life is not my own. My time is not my own. And my zeal for life comes from the creator that has molded my story to be one of a woman who aspires to be something greater than what the world tells her she can be. I have always aspired to more, because I see things how they could be. And how things could be, guide me to seek global change, life giving experiences, and to see beyond the pain. Because life is too short to let pain envelop the zeal for life. Pain will not stop my fight to make my dreams reality and to one day find the feeling of what it means to be home anywhere in the world.


Bethany Jane


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