I’ve always been a fan of analogies, but even more so since being in Samoa. I guess they help explain this new life I’m living. I recently wrote my sister a letter where I compared my life here to a rollercoaster ride. Here’s how it goes:
If you’ve ever ridden a rollercoaster before you might have experienced some hesitation before you got on and were strapped in. I know I have. Well Peace Corps is definitely something I hesitated doing. I had actually been contemplating Peace Corps since my sophomore year in college. It takes some guts to leave the comforts of home, just as it takes guts to ride the steel tracks of a rollercoaster.
A rollercoaster also has such a diverse group of people who ride it. Some are young, some are old. Some close their eyes; others stretch their arms above their heads. The Peace Corps also has a dynamic and varying group of people. I’ve met some wonderful individuals through this organization, people with drive and determination.
You might have seen this next one coming and it’s a bit clichéd, but there are highs and lows throughout the Peace Corps life. Just like that rollercoaster, there are times in the journey where you feel like your on top of the world, so comfortable you feel you can stretch your arms out like those die-hard rollercoaster fans and still feel safe. But there are other days where you feel scared, confused, and maybe a little lost, as if you don’t know which way is up or you’ve entered one of those tunnels that the track runs through.
For some who’ve ridden a rollercoaster, there might have been times when you wondered if you were completely safe. Those hard turns and upside down loops can play with your mind. For me, I’ve looked for the tight embrace of God on my challenging days and have found Him to be like the safety harness that locks in tight over your shoulders. God is bracing me and holding me on those upside-down days, making sure I make it to the end of the track.
At some point the ride does come to an end. Some will say it went by fast, while others will think it took forever to be finished. However, a lot of people who may have hesitated to board in the first place find themselves exhilarated, or at least proud of their taking on a new challenge. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I’m trying to enjoy all the moments of this ride. I’m trying to learn about myself and others around me. Just like those on the rollercoaster, I’m trying to step away from my comfort zone to experience the view from another angle, a new height. As the rollercoaster reaches the peak of the highest drop, I’m hoping I have the courage to raise my hands up, keep my eyes open and enjoy the next challenge before me.