Stepping Away From My Worries
A memoir from our Engage Summer Media Intern in Hong Kong
Last week, I went on a hike with my friends to Lion Rock. The week before had been rough. I was struggling, and I could tell that other people on my team were also feeling a little down. We were having a hard time connecting with most of our students and I was feeling the pressure to catch up with lots of work and pull myself together after being very sick with a tooth infection. I was tired and felt very defeated. I began to wonder why I came to Hong Kong. I felt like I couldn’t make a difference here or even serve anyone at all. I began to fall prey to lies about who I am and what role I serve on my team. I started to feel like, as a media intern, I was not useful or capable of serving others here.
I went on the hike just hoping to get away with friends for a while. I thought the exercise would be good for me. I didn’t know anything about the hike we were going on. The hike to Lion Rock begins down in the city. You walk up very steep streets, past high rise apartment buildings and corner stores. People pass by in taxis and buses, as climbing the steep streets is too difficult for some. When you reach the actual path leading toward Lion Rock you are already drenched with sweat and breathing heavily. At this point in the hike I was laughing at myself, because I was already wanting to quit and we hadn’t even started the actual hike. However, even though I was tired and sweaty, I began to really enjoy myself as we made our way out from the city and into the jungle.
As we hiked upward, the city could be seen through the trees. The view was already so good and we weren’t even halfway there. We were thrilled to see monkeys climbing in the trees and soon we walked by the entrance to a temple. My friend Brittany turned on music and we all fell silent as we walked in awe of our surroundings.
The true magic of this moment was when we reached the peak of the hike. We stood absolutely stunned staring at the city of Hong Kong spread out below us. We could see from Mainland China all across the city and out into the ocean. It truly felt like standing at the top of the world. Pictures and words can’t accurately describe a view like that. It literally left me speechless. Looking out over the city and seeing the big picture, I realized that I had spent way too much time being worried over small things. I had reduced myself to simply a media intern (and an inexperienced one at that) who was limited in her abilities and therefore not equipped to serve anyone. But why would I do that to myself? Why would I, when I know I was deliberately called out and sent on this trip to Hong Kong, just as I am?
Clearly I was sent for a reason. Obviously I would not be sent if I was not meant to be here, if I was not capable of doing the work set before me. So why had I taken away so much joy from my experience, by worrying myself sick and doubting myself so much? Where was my faith when I needed it most?
As we hiked back down the mountain, my friend Annie played “Vapor (A Meditation)” by The Liturgists. If you have not listened to this track before, I recommend it. The meditation is based on a verse, and encourages the listener to think about the big picture. This track reaffirmed the truths I needed to hear, truths that the were being written into my story that day and every day.
One thing I have found to be true about serving abroad is that it is very easy to fall prey to discouragement. When you are in an unfamiliar place, eating foods you aren’t used to, meeting new people every day who can’t speak your language, struggling to find your way around, and doing work that is completely new to you discouragement can hit at any moment. It is very easy to feel like a failure when you dive into the unknown. When I feel this way I try to remind myself that there is One who is always good and we are deliberately called out into the unknown. We are equiped with everything we need and there is always a purpose for everything we do, even if we aren’t aware of it.
All of our worries and struggles are temporary but there is Goodness that is everlasting. For the rest of my Engage trip I want to work on stepping away from my worries and focusing on the big picture. Because amazing things are happening in Hong Kong — and I don’t want to miss out on any of it.