You stole my husband’s heart first. He’s a man of many passions, the deepest of which is an innermost desire to leave tiny fingerprints on the hearts of everyone he meets – even those he has not. Ken isn’t in the business of grand gestures – instead, he slowly betters the world around him with small acts of kindness. A mowed lawn here, a handwritten note there. A steady and consistent stream of love and service until you wake up one morning and realize that you are a better person having known him. So really, Ethiopia, I’m not at all surprised he’s fallen in love with you – a country of kind and beautiful individuals braided with resilience and grace, woven with strength and joy.
And now, here I am, a few days away from visiting your great nation. I’m organizing toiletries and folding jeans and packing my suitcase, but inside, my heart is reeling. I’m a teenager prepping for a first date – a date that I have a feeling might be a monumental one. What shoes do you bring to fall head over heels in? What raincoat can protect you from the outpouring of emotion?
My experiment with slow blogging this year has changed me to the core. Stepping back to gain perspective and experience our world in a less frenzied fashion has meant that I’m experiencing my emotions in a similar way. There is built-in time for simmering and stewing and bubbling over, no longer covered by the lid of “More!” and “Now!” and “Hurry!” My time is no longer filled researching products to buy and lifestyles to emulate, and instead, I find myself daydreaming about joy. About the simpler pleasures that make me happiest, about the people who bring me joy.
I have a feeling you’re going to make the very tip-top of that list, Ethiopia.
I’m visiting you with a group of wonderful, inspired ladies (and one-of-a-kind, amazing lone dude), and in one of our recent calls, The Lone Dude explained that he subscribes to a very specific theory: I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me. And isn’t that the truth, Ethiopia? I feel guilty when I think about all the valuable lessons you’ll be sharing with me – how joy overcomes circumstance. How resilient a human spirit can be. How we can choose to be happy, to love with our hearts and smile with our souls.
It’s funny to write all of these things on a design blog, but then again, it’s not. You have designed your lives precisely as they’re intended to be: simply, beautifully and filled to the brim with overflowing love.
Teach me your ways, Ethiopia. I’ll see you in a bit.