I was talking with a someone recently who hopes to be a missionary when she’s older and she mentioned how many sacrifices people who choose that life have to make. It made me pause, because I don’t usually think of the word sacrifice when I think about my time overseas. But the more I think about it, there are so many sacrifices involved in flying across the world and scattering your heart along the way.
This past weekend, I was in a dance recital for my school. I needed a fine arts credit to graduate so I chose dance. Even though I haven’t danced in forever, the teacher let me skip Dance 1 (which is just a PE credit) to Dance 2. While I’ve overall enjoyed the class, it’s been rough. And I wasn’t so sure about this required recital we had to be in. But as the day drew nearer, I was ok with it…not super excited, not dreading it. It would be fine.
On the day of, I got to school early with everyone else in my class and we did our hair and makeup. And it was even kinda fun. I hadn’t gotten to get ready for a game or meet or recital in years and it was fun to feel those flutters of excitement and nervousness again.
Before the show started, everyone had to watch the drill team perform (our show was just high school and middle school dance classes…the ‘real’ show was that night) their opening number. And they are good. So good. I was so sad to miss their show.
As the lights dimmed though and they started to dance, a familiar feeling crept into my heart. What if. What if we hadn’t moved…would I be on that stage with them? Would I be on some other sports team? What could I have done if I hadn’t moved? Oh so familiar tears filled my eyes as the dancers on the stage blurred under the bright lights. Every football game. Every dance show. Every school dance. Every homecoming. Those tears. Sacrifice.
The actual show was great. No one messed up and it was fun to finally perform the dance we’d practiced so long. The feeling of “what if” faded, like it always does. But it lingers in the back of my mind – the constant struggle to accept that God’s plan for me overseas was better than my dreams of having a “normal” high school life.
But, honestly, if I had the chance to go back and do it all again…I’d still choose Italy. I’d still choose the long hours in an Italian classroom. I’d still choose the loneliness. I’d still choose the house that was freezing in the winter and dizzingly hot in the summer. Because with those moments came meeting my Italian friends. Learning the language. Seeing places I only dreamed of visiting. Finding community with other MKs. Starting Not of this World. Seeing the world with a different set of eyes. High school is only four years of my life and in a few years, it will be a distant memory. But Italy. That’s a forever memory. And it was worth the sacrifice.