This morning I woke up to an interesting quote by Mary Tyler Moore that said, "You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." I've been really lucky the last few weeks to have a lot of things, as simple as a well-timed quote, pop up to remind me that life's pieces all fall into place like they are supposed to.
This quote was really helpful today because, let's be honest, the last month hasn't been the best I've ever had. Being dubbed lazy, disrespectful, and a person who will lie about the severity of a family member's illness to get time off isn't the biggest self-esteem booster. Though I know this is all libel, and that any organization who will let go of a volunteer mid-event in a random town on the other side of the United States from their home without warning, is probably not a place where I want to donate my time, It's still tough. I truly admire a lot of what Invisible Children does and I've grown a lot through the organization before and after volunteering with them (mixed, of course, with a lovely organization called BeadforLife and the friendships found in Sarah McCall, Erin Fischer, and Chelsea Burns). The thing is though, having experienced my treatment, seeing the same poor treatment happen to a lot of other roadies in poor situations, and IC promoting the mentality that you can basically treat people however you want and get away with it because, "we are ending a war," is not an easy concept to grasp. I do still believe in Jason Russell's undying idealism, Jedidiah Jenkins's relentless love and compassion for every person ever, the truth Lindsay Williams speaks in the Tony film, and the empowerment youth feel when they get involved, but a lot has changed for me. I found that I'm at a point in my life where I need to take a break from IC, and take time to lick my wounds and re-group. There are a lot of great organizations creating economic and educational initiatives in Uganda and the DRC, and though IC has done great work, none of these NPOs are ending this war. They are creating mediums of peace and prosperity in war-torn areas, (which is one huge aspect to ending violence) but the only people going to end this war are governments. It's a sad realization I've come to, because I am much more a believer in grassroots campaings, but soldiers are going to stop soldiers, and governments are going to stop wars (after they milk them for all they are worth). A t-shirt sold isn't going to take a gun out of a rebel's hand, but it is going to help a region rebuild, and that is not something to overlook.
But like I said before, there has been a lot of positive things surrounding me throughout the last month. Besides small omens that remind me of my faith, and huge support from friends and family, one thing that really has helped me keep on keepin on is taking pride in my close friends' achievements, and looking at them as examples of how to progress. One of my best friends, Jason, is a shinning example. He is a person who has pursued his passion in multiple things, taken risks and huge leaps of faith, only to experience huge failure that led him to hightailing down HIS path to His dream. For me, I'm so inspired by his passion, and finding what he is put on earth to do. Each day when I hear new stories about doors opening, and seeing how a path becomes quite illuminated once you find and purse it, I want to keep pushing. I want to find my passion, and most of all, I want to find my purpose. It's been cool to see it happen on the small scale as well, with friends making huge strides in relationships, and realizing their own worth. A good friend of mine from CU, who I've worked with for years and seen her go through some rough relationships, called me on the phone a few nights ago. She told me of what she's learned about lacking aspects in past relationships, and places where she thought she was coming up short, but realized it wasn't the case. It was enlightening and moving for me, and gave perspective on how I need to approach dating and vulnerability with future relationships.
Though these victories for my friends have been a much needed vehicle of hope, do I have a bit of bitterness towards Invisible Children? I'm only human, and it would be a lie to say I don't. I miss the friends I made there, I'm jealous of those who have found family in their entire team, instead of deceit and hurt, and I'm very sad to not be reuniting with those whom I really created solid bonds with. But the thing is, I know myself, and as much as this last month has had some lllloooowwwww (read with a deep, baritone voice) lows, I've also been reminded of my worth, my strengths, and my blessings. I have some amazing friends, an extended family across the US, and a wonderful friend, who is more like a sister, whom I never would have met without this journey. It is definitely an uphill road from here, and my path still lacks lucidity, but daily omens and reminders to keep faith make it a much easier road to traverse.