Some dreams we remember and others we wish we could forget. Recently I woke up with a dream fresh in my memory that I did not want to end. I dreamt about Seville and my time there. I wanted to mentally grasp tighter and tighter on to this dream as it faded away. It made me sick with sadness. I miss my friends in Spain. My heart aches to imagine the children I taught growing up and I’m missing it. This feeling I have had before. In the beginning, while I was there I missed people and events in the U.S. I missed babies born, family members dying, weddings and love from familiar faces. The guilt of not being there stung. I can recall now the skype calls to my parents that broke their hearts as I wept in the wifi cafe thousands of miles away.
It was tough and mentally exhausting. I took full advantage of the southern Spain custom of an afternoon nap or siesta every day. Feeling blue was not going to do. I needed a solution. Surprisingly, I found it all around me. Spain is a religious country that celebrates it’s faith with grandiose cathedrals that are breathtaking. The cathedral in Seville is amazing and rich with history. Opening my eyes to the many scenes of God around me reminded me to have faith. I decided to fully rely on God (FROG- my parents have said this to me before). Through him I found strength and hope so it didn’t matter where I was or what language I spoke. Once I found God in my Spain life I was okay.
Today, I think about my time there and wonder if I spent it the right way. Nine months seems like a long period of time but it isn’t. I was on the go around the clock soaking up every moment I could. I lived as if I did not know when I would return. Similarly, we do not know when Jesus will return or at what point we will meet him. In Acts 1:3 it reads:
After his suffering he presented himself alive to them during forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Forty days is a short period of time. Jesus walked the Earth knowing he would leave shortly but was happy and shared good news. My time in Spain was happy. I also had my contagious, bubbly personality shining most days because how better could life get? Jesus and I have experienced similar emotions about leaving home. You open your heart completely and thank God for the day given. He returned telling people about the great I Am because sharing this truth is the right thing to do. I am forever changed since my time abroad. I not only live my life to it’s fullest and thank God each day but teach what I preach. No one likes to receive advice from someone that does not live that advice for herself.
The passage from Acts and my time abroad has opened my eyes to a new perspective on time. The measurable time that we have is not what is important. It is what we do in that time that counts. Like Jesus in his time after rising from the dead, I involve God in my life and share His love with those all around.
— Alex Tatro