Healing Heartbreak with Service

As I have seen over and over again in my life, and I am so fortunate to have learned this lesson early on, the very best way to heal from heartbreak, personal problems and pain, is to get OUT of yourself. How do you best accomplish that? Service.

Serving others takes the focus off of yourself, brings you out of whatever hole of hurting you are in, and lets you actually give something to others who need it, when you didn’t even think you had anything left to give. When you least expect it, when you are finally not being absorbed in your pain or problems or heartache, you receive even more back than you had ever imagined. You receive healing. Peace. Joy. Refuge from being wrapped in yourself. Release. All while contributing goodness into this world that only then grows exponentially.

These past few months, as amazing as they have been here in Guatemala, have thrown some hard blows at me. Thankfully God had already put in place ways for me to serve, to help and be healed by finding a respite outside of wallowing in my own pain. I had been heartbroken. I had been hurt so badly by a love I trusted in. I had a family member die while I was far away from my family. And I kept adding on things to feel sorry about. I was heading towards throwing a pity party, no, a pity-block-party-bash-o-thon. Then I remembered the most healing thing I could do: surrender up my hurting and trade it in for joy by working with others and giving something of myself. I had the most amazing opportunities to do this in Guatemala.

The San Hermano Pedro Hospital in Antigua is home to many mentally disabled and special needs people, and I was blessed with the opportunity to work with and serve them. My favorite was celebrating birthday parties with the children, playing ukulele for and with them, helping to feed and take care of these precious kids, and just spend time with those who really valued my presence. It was humbling. It was hard to see and have hope at times. But most of all, it was FUN.

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Mickey plays my ukulele like a rock star!

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Happy Birthday! Such Joy is best shared.

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Lupita and I having a silly day. These kids make me smile so much, even when I didn’t feel like smiling before.

When I was living in the mountain town of Magdalena, I was able to volunteer with a child sponsorship program which helps kids continue education and have the resources to be able to go to school and get an education. I delivered gifts from a proud sponsor in Seattle to her girl, Lurian, who had just decided to continue on past 6th grade, thanks to the contributions and belief her sponsor had. I played with the precious children of a woman that made such an impact on my life two years ago, Delia. Her beautiful baby, Raquel, was a twin but had lost her sister last year. Yet the joy and love and warmth of this family radiated and healed me, with my suddenly insignificant problems. Here I was trying to “do good” but having more good touch my life than I could have ever asked for.

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Lurian is so happy to get her special presents!

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The beautiful children of Delia: Raquel and Katarina.

Working in a health clinic helped me to be close to families really struggling with basic needs, the worry of keeping their family healthy, and the stark presence of child malnutrition. Once again, putting my self-absorbing problems into perspective, bringing my blessings to the surface of my mind. I really wasn’t even contributing that much, I weighed and measured children, sorted medical files, took blood pressure, and painted little girls’ nails. But just spending time with others and giving of my time and talents in any way I can, brought with it a tremendous and disproportional amount of joy and purpose.

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Playing nurse and beautician at the clinic.

This blog post isn’t at all to say, “oh look at me and all the good I am doing in the world”, but rather the opposite. It is to say how humbled I am when I, for a second, step away from my problems that may seem huge and insurmountable to me at the time, and start to give to others instead. To contrast my life and all its blessings with those who are struggling in their hurt as well. We can move through it together, I can serve where I can, and I can be blessed immensely by trying to be a blessing for others.

There is no quicker way to feel joy in the midst of pain than service. Service is a healer, and it works on a two way street. Give and you will get. Be selfless and you will receive. I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to serve, especially when I felt a lot of things crumbling around me. Peace enveloped me, and I grasp to that sense of purpose that comes from trying to bring any measure of good into this beautifully broken world.

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peace and blessings, and joy from giving be upon you all — Kira

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I love my fingers!

I needed to post this picture in order to remind myself of who I am, and how awesome my life at this moment in time really is.

I am pretty powerful, just as I am, I would say.

This Thank You note is just one of many awesome thanks given by Leah Dieterich on her amazing website http://thxthxthx.com/ which reminds me to be thankful to so many things…the unexpected, the seemingly mundane, and the ideas in our lives that make us who we are.

Yes, I am excited for that ring finger to be graced with a symbol of love I share with the right man. But you know what else I am excited for? MY LIFE! Going to Guatemala for an internship in development. Living life in Seattle with my friends. Loving and discovering myself just as I am: Powerful.

I am not lacking because my finger is naked. I am free to express me as exactly how I am. I am a forward looking person who relishes in the now. Thank you, Leah, for reminding me to give thanks. God has given me MUCH to be thankful for…and I have the strongest of hope in continuing to give thanks for all the blessings yet to come– jewelry or no!

And all you singles ladies (yes, sing it out if it’s now in your head…) I hope you are with me on this one. You are loved, powerful, and appreciated and NOT just in a state of waiting. You are fully you, now. Just as you are. Just as God made you. Thanks for reading,

Blessings and Peace be on you all, as you look at all things you can be thankful for. Even the not so obvious blessings in our lives.

Namaste– Kira

One Day at a Time

Let’s look at a pearl of wisdom from my mother tonight:

“We can only do our best, and we can only take it one day at a time”

No more than that.

–We can’t do more than our best, or it wouldn’t be our best.

–We can’t take things on more than a day at a time, because we can’t control time like that. We are given the day we are in and we deal with it as it comes. Yes, making plans is good, but when it comes down to surviving the chaos that life throws at you sometimes, the best way is to take it one. day. at. a. time.

What has today meant for me? Nothing extraordinary…until I look at the little blessings and challenges I actually faced today. I cried tears on the phone. I ate a mountain of frozen yogurt. I got through classes and midterm grades. I wore my hair down. I ran in the hail. I studied and worked and pushed through. I took today with what I needed to do for this day.

Tomorrow I will do the same. One day at a time. String it all together and you have a life. My life. With all the simplistic, overwhelming, beautiful, extraordinary, up an down days.

Drowning…but I Know I can Swim

Here it is, only the third week of Winter quarter, and I already feel like I am drowning in a never-ending flood of homework. From Politics to Middle Eastern history to Global Health, its always something. Not that I don’t see the value of what I am learning, but does it have to completely take over my life like this? Well, apparently for a university senior who is taking 19 credits, it does.

So if that is the case, then I’ll face it dead on! I found a quote this week that felt very applicable,

“Believe you can, and you are halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt

It’s amazing what attitude can do. I have found it my constant relief since the start of 2011, taking on an attitude of loving myself, of knowing things will get better, I can heal, and I grow from every life experience. Yoga has been amazingly helpful in shaping this attitude about myself. Loving yourself and being grateful for exactly where you are can give you an emotional makeover.

That being said, I have camped out on my couch with my fuzzy blanket and Middle East homework spread around me, gathered the needed supplies of Dr. Pepper and some Ben and Jerry’s, and turned on some really great tunes. (I’ve included one of my new favorites that I have most definitely learned on my ukulele. It’s a great mash-up with lots of heart and sweet sound.) I have the attitude I need to tackle this next step in my life, with my degree in sight. Taking it one step at a time is all I can do, especially when I feel like I am drowning. So tonight, I battle the flood and pray I come out victorious.

Namaste, –Kira

The Hope Friendship Instills

Friends–I need them.

I realize that more and more out here in the middle of nowhere. I have my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and that is about it for any and all human contact. I desire going out to meet up with people I really enjoy spending time with, I yearn for the kind of relationship building conversation, I want to hang out with friends I know want to hang out with me too.

Now, it’s not like I don’t have that–It’s just, I don’t have that here. And after over a month of this lacking, I am really feeling its loss. I have enjoyed the days of quiet, the mornings of sleeping in cause I have no pressing things to wake up for, the tea and book reading time…but those are the nicest when they are interspersed with socializing, days of productivity, waking up with a sense of purpose.

So this is a post to the hope that friendship brings. The kind of hope that has me counting down the days until reunion is possible, that has me filling my head with the possibilities of the adventures to be had with my loved ones. You aren’t lost if there is hope, and I am one who says Hope springs eternal. So I drink my chai, sing my songs, read my book, and grasp that ever present hope as it grows. I am becoming more and more appreciative of what friendship means, and I march on towards a future where I hope to be a better friend to all those who call me theirs.

Here is to relishing the feeling of belonging. Because as it stands now, I am longing to belong…to be where I know I fit in.

The Busyness of Life and Love

Here I am, caught in a crazy pace of life: a whirlwind of events, learning, scheduling, planning, homework, laughs, dresses, cups of coffee, and tears.

I have been given tokens of love from many people:

Flowers from my future housemate, Caroline, Coffee from my lovely Lauren when I picked her up from the airport, and a ukulele virtuoso CD from my father dearest who has such faith that someday I will play like that…

I have been surrounded by dear friends recently, having fun, dressing up fancy and forgetting the feelings of overwhelming stress for a bit–which in turn saves my sanity. I am so blessed with these gems of moments, laughing, dancing, snapping pictures for posterity and instant memories. God is surrounding me with Joy reminiscent of what I have in Him alone.

So for all of that, I am thankful for fancy dresses, pouring rain, tearful conversations, tea and crepes. Life and Love can keep one quite busy…and I would have it no other way!

Ash Wednesday Thoughts

I have been overwhelmed. Yet I feel like I have been overwhelmed for a long period of time. Just as people are telling me, “don’t worry, you’ll get through this” I feel like I always have things to “get through.” I am becoming increasingly tired with “getting through” just so i can “get through” some more things. I don’t want to get through college, I want to live it.

One of the things pressing on my heart and mind recently is whether or not to be a Resident Hall Ministry Coordinator next year. Next year will be my last year at SPU (give or take a few quarters more) and I want so many things out of it. I want to be an RHMC, I want to live in a house with my girlfriends, I want to fully be focused on my studies, I want…. Either way, I am torn. And the application for RHMC is due in two days. I just started to look at it today. But the beautiful thing about my decision today was my friend, and MY RHMC Hannah. I know God has placed being in ministry on my heart when I am brought to tears at words from someone who knows what potential I have. From someone speaking words I know God himself is saying to my heart. I love this program, I love loving people, and I want to do it all….but can I put all of this on my plate? Or is this just how I am feeling because of the overwhelming season I am in thats going on in my life right now?

So I’ll answer these application questions and really ask them of myself. I’ll be open to the people God is placing in my life to speak words of wisdom, comfort and encoyragement about what path I am supposed to take. Prayerfully will I go through this process, cause if I don’t take it to God, then why go through the process at all?

The RHMC issue is just one of the weights on my shoulders that I somehow won’t let go of: finances and money worry, schoolwork and exams, fundraising and meetings for India, being an engaged SMC for and with my girls, due dates and grades…

Today I got to take some time to pause and think about life in its wholeness though. Ash Wednesday. I got to go to a service in which we remembered how mortal we are, how everlasting God is, and how we can turn our focus towards our relationship with God over the Lenten season. I am going to let go of money worry and anxiety, and not do any unnecessary spending. This way I can turn my anxiety into trusting in God’s provision and letting God show me what I need and how I can depend on Him to meet all of my needs; in money, in future, in relationships, and even in my stress over schoolwork. So I bear an ash cross on my forehead to remind me of what it really means when God says he wants me for ETERNITY, and that I can devote my short, small life to further His great kingdom here on earth.

It is so good to know I am loved, especially amidst the stress, worry, brokenness, and uncertainty I feel. Thank you Father for your love, and for your children who love.

Namaste,

–Kira

Journals…

There is something so mesmerizing to me about a new journal…I love the blank, clean pages. I love the potential. I love the feel and smell and idea of it all. I love holding one in my hand and flipping through the pages imagining what it will  be filled with weeks, months and years from now.

I guess one reason why I don’t blog as much on a computer, is my addiction to journals. I currently have three different ones for only slightly different reasons.

One I have kept since October of 2002. Yes that’s right folks, since I was 13 years old. I wrote about boys, my hopes of going to a public high school, and what I did with my Saturdays. I believe my first volume was blue and had shimmery dolphins. yup. But I have been writing about my life and dreams and goings on since then. I must have 12 books full with MY journal. I can not write for a month, but it will still be there to soak up the ink from my pen and the thoughts on my life: where it’s been, where it’s going.

Here is my trusty journal that I am keeping now:

The other one is a small moleskin, hand painted by people that I know care so deeply for me. It is the SMC journal given to me at the start of training when I first came to SPU for my second year. It has held my thoughts on being an SMC for my floor, my prayers of Joy at the blessings I see from God, and my desperate pleas for comfort through rough times. I guess I view this one more from my spiritual journey through my year as serving through a ministry to my floor. I can just try and imagine what the RHMC’s and CSMC’s were thinking and hoping for when making these journals special for us.

And just today I have added to my collection and am feeding my addiction by starting a “Worship Journal”. I am taking a spiritual disciplines class about worship and one of the forms of worship we are exploring is through journaling and reflecting on how God speaks to us, where He has been faithful to us, and how many blessings we see in our lives. As a class we are going to be keeping a journal and making entries in it for 40 days straight. Every day reflecting on the goodness of God, our doubts, our prayers, and meditations on what God is showing us and leading us through. I adore the look and feel of this journal, along with its purpose. I had to buy it as soon as it caught my eye, and I feel it mirrors the growth I desire to record in it. Plus it was hand made and bound in one of my fave towns close to home: Port Townsend.

These little books have gotten me through hard times, and listened to my delight about the good times, but most of all they have been a reflection of who I am. Its that reflection that I can learn from, love, and always remember where and who I have been. Thank you Lord for my love of journaling!

Namaste

–Kira

Rocky Days call for Grace

Those were a few rocky days I just had there. I didn’t know going back to my heart hometown of Sequim could be so tumultuous, dramatic, and confusing. But here are the good things that came out of it:

I realized once again how blessed I am with my brothers. They are the best in the world, and I know they would do anything for me. As my brother Leif’s facebook status shows: “Leif Hendricksen is about to go beat the crap out of my sisters d-bag ex unless he leaves her the hell alone.” Albeit a bit violent and fierce, but protective and loving, as brothers should be.

Also, my love of showers grows every time I have the chance to wash clean and just stand under the hot water and cry it out. Some of my most fervent prayers to God are in the shower.

I am finding myself praying more for my future husband. Knowing God has it all planned out is reassuring and encouraging me to press on, ask for forgiveness and strive to be better for that unknown, sweet man.

Now I am in Oregon visiting my roomie, relaxing, and giving my heart and thoughts time to heal. I can slow down, take care of life, and try to be a blessing to someone else for a change, rather than always thinking of my stupid, selfish wants.

Thank you God for forgiveness, family, rest, music with lyrics that pierce my heart with their poetic exactness, and most of all your Comfort and Grace. I am happy that Grace makes life unfair, cause it seems I always get the better deal.

Here is the song my heart is singing now: The Special Two by Missy Higgins. Not all of the lyrics are what I am feeling, but I think it has a good message of what I am going through. I won’t hold out for anything more, though.


Bad days can be put behind me, just like the rainy road I drove today. Newness comes pouring out of the clouds now. Amen!

Namaste– Kira