I was given the opportunity to travel to Orlando for Heavy and Light (https://twloha.com/heavy-and-light/) at the beginning of April.  It would be my first solo trip where all decisions were mine to make, my choices would make or break my memories.  As much as I told myself that I would be open to what would happen, I knew I was going with pre-planned hopes and desires for what would happen.  I was going with the idea that certain moments would happen, certain events would take place that would forever change the direction of my life. 

When I got there I was faced with the reality of the situation and not my dreams.  The decisions were mine and only mine to make, no one to deflect them to, no one to blame.  I was in Florida with no real plan of my own, no idea how to travel or where to go.  I was overwhelmed with the reality of the situation and needed to remind myself that God was in control and the truth of that would come out over and over throughout the trip.  I had to give myself permission to breathe and that I could take what time I needed to, to get myself oriented, to calm my soul and to just breathe.  I had to remind myself that I was in a new place and all that I would experience would be new.  I found myself making choices that would focus on being good to myself.  I could put myself first with no guilt, that no plans was a different way of travelling but that it was okay.  My far out ideals, dreams of what would happen, were just that - far out.  I needed to be deliberate and make choices and be okay with my choices. 

It was okay to enjoy myself.  It was okay that I put myself first.  It was okay.

The only real mistakes that I could make was to not enjoy the moments that God laid out for me.  To be in the moment and to enjoy that moment.  I did not have to explain myself to anyone - not even to myself.  I challenged myself to just be present and to appreciate what was in front of me.

I encountered peace within a  crowd of chaos. I found enjoyment within the joy of others, beauty in the moment. God showed up continually and I saw His work more often than not. I knew that recognizing God in the moment was what mattered. God was more important than what did or did not happen. It was still often a struggle to stay in the moment in spite of this knowledge. I still got distracted by my own desires/dreams, especially as the time grew closer to the start of Heavy and Light.

As the night began I entered a hallowed place and moment that I was a part of. Everyone else seemed to know someone else or at least came to the event with someone.  So as much as I knew I was part of the group, I was still an outsider, I had the feeling of being alone in a crowd where I wasn't alone. Being invited into the stories that were shared on stage reminded me that I wasn't alone. There are so many quotes that I want to be able to remember from the night, truths that reminded us that we are all part of a story that is still going. Tears and laughter were abundant throughout the night, and it ended all too quickly. Several hours flew by in a moment but I knew I was leaving the place with a full heart.

I had many things that I wanted to say to Jamie and Renee, but of course I forgot most of it. I was able to at least say thank you for what they have done for so many, including me.

After I returned back to life, I was asked if I would ever do it again, absolutely I would.  It is one thing to watch from afar, but God took those days and taught me much about enjoying now and not the future.  I am worth the time and energy that self care needs.




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Pastor Joe Heikman
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Pastor Eileen Klaassen
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