6 of us returned home today from Sri Lanka-London…
Some of us travelled back to the states today…twenty plus hours in the air…plus a night layover for Jason, Anna, Supun, Shwetha, and I in London! Sonali had to leave for U.S. right after we arrived at Heathrow Airport…it was hard to say goodbye to her. She gave and did soooo much, with Supun to create such an amazing adventure, service opp. in Sri Lanka! I’ve never been to London, UK until now. We got to experience the Tube “Mind the Gap” subway system and got to roam around in downtown area and meet Supun’s childhood friend…also named Supun for dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was cooooold…compared to Sri Lanka’s balmy, humid, rainy weather. We walked by one area and there was a premiere of Sweeney Todd and star crossed fans were waiting for this fabulous actor I’m sure you’ve heard about: Johnny Depp (Be still my heart). We tried to wait and see him on the red carpet, but had to move on. It was nice to transition to London for some reason. Everything was very eye catching…and some franchise stores we know such as Nike Town, etc, but it felt really exciting and invigorating to me…the weather and the travelling on the tube, and exploring around. A few of us went back to the hotel and were kinda nodding off on the tube…I was kinda worried we’d all fall asleep and miss our stop. Some of the crew went to go check out Buckingham Palace. Of course we all missed Sri Lanka and fellow volunteers: some still in Colombo and some who are going to India to Manav Sadhna and to see family.
While travelling in the airplane to London, some reflective thoughts emerged for me. I was thinking about where fearful thoughts get people…nowhere. Fear breeds more fear and creates and accelerates war, confusion, and terror. We’re all guilty of feeling fear here and there throughout our lives…but this quote entered my mind throughout the plane ride: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. I feel for myself, I’m fairly fearless…but my mind tries to talk me out of a lot of things, and if I feel people are concerned about me regarding travel, serving in dangerous places or the like: I try and appease them and almost take in their worry as my own…when my original thought/choice comes from a place of peace. I think sometimes I ask a ton of questions because my mind wants to clarify and compartmentalize information, and can just say whatever’s on my mind-eeksville…sometimes this is beneficial, sometimes not. But what’s interesting is how it’s the heart that wins out…it felt safe in the wisest place in me to travel to Sri Lanka. I knew we’d be protected from harm.
The other day, Sonali took some of us shopping. We at lunch at this Cricket Club restaurant. There was something that took place like a few blocks away from us…some bomb scare. It wasn’t quite clear what had happened…I think we felt a bit on alert, but I felt still calm and not worried in my heart…of course, again…my mind/ego wanted to ask all types of questions and find out exactly what happened. I kind of wish I had a Sri Lankan newspaper right now to find out the details…but I can look it up online. While we ate, I felt a bit distracted…and I think mostly because of some sadness I felt…that there’s this turmoil going on in some areas of Sri Lanka and in other countries. In London, our cab driver (to airport this morning) mentioned some tension between Muslims and other residents in London. To me, it feels trivial…this kind of struggle between peoples…it just needs to end…the racial profiling, fears, miscommunication, and misrepresentation…but I’m just a visitor en route, so listened a bit to the cab driver’s complaints about London and listened in earnest, but also some objectiveness and I felt this shock inside the core of me…wondering why so much anger has to surface here and there ongoingly throughout our world…
And then I thought of our service vacation and the pride and warmth in my heart for all who were on this service trip and all of you who held down the fort while we were gone…I thought of service and what a gift it brings others and ourselves. I’m in awe–remembering some of the crew sorting and handing out school shoes to children at a Tsunami relief camp, a few getting into a tuk tuk (rickshaw) to take a boy to a doctor…who fell on his head while playing ball, connecting and working with kids/teachers in Lunugamvera and Mahasena.
The compassion we all experienced could make anyone dizzily happy with love brimming over…comparable to the many cups of tea we drank.
And regarding the volunteers…the compassion/kindness to each other was tangible…whether it occurred by someone giving up a seat for someone else, sharing snacks, giving a high five, hug, looking out for each other..with a smile and kind gift: either by actually gifting an object to pass on or keep…or just amazing gifts to the children, people we met on our roadtrip adventure of light and hope.