Posted: 5/5/18 at 8:45am. Written by Will Cumbia.
Some of my favorite moments I’ve had in Europe have been while hiking. From the quiet mountains jutting from crystal blue lakes in Austria to Arthur’s Seat in the middle of bustling Edinburgh, I’ve seen some amazing vistas in my time here.
It’s astounding to look back towards the path from which you came—to see how the winding path that didn’t seem to lead to the summit suddenly makes sense from the top of the mountain. Life is similar sometimes, isn’t it? Often our path can seem sporadic and random. As a young-twenty-something, I’ve wondered how all of my experiences could possibly lead to any one clear place.
Yet standing on one of life’s summits, it’s amazing to look back and see the path I’ve walked. To see how so many of my experiences in the past have unexpectedly prepared me perfectly for what I am doing right now.
To see how my love for singing and musical theater prepared me perfectly for singing at a home for the elderly in London. I was blessed to watch everyone in the room light up and sing along with me to “My Favorite Things.”
To see how my dealings with anxiety in the past prepared me perfectly for the moment a woman on the brink of homelessness shared with me her own experiences of anxiety. I was blessed to look into her eyes and tell her I knew exactly how she felt and for her to have someone understand her, even for just a moment.
To see how my time as a conversational English partner in my BCM’s international ministry prepared me perfectly for working with people from different cultures every day. I am continually blessed to learn from people from around the world.
To see how my nine semesters of foreign language study in college, though not in German, made me more comfortable being around people I couldn’t understand. I am blessed to use whatever words I know to connect with others—even to lead worship in a language other than English.
To see how my experiences doing short-term mission trips prepared me perfectly to put myself out there even when I was uncomfortable. I am blessed every time I push myself out of my comfort zone and meet God halfway.
To see how a life lived in the Baptist church prepared me to connect with other Baptists from all over the world. I am blessed beyond measure by this quirky family, even when I disagree with them.
So somehow, “The Sound of Music” and mental health issues and hanging out with Chinese people and learning French and adventures in Puerto Rico and being Baptist all somehow combine perfectly.
There is beauty in looking back down the mountain to see the path that we’ve taken. To see how God takes our gifts, talents, and experiences and uses them in unexpected ways for our present moment.
Each day is an adventure in Vienna, and I can’t wait to see how God is preparing me for whatever adventures come next.
Grace and peace,
For more reflections on Will’s time as a Venturer in Austria, check out his blog https://willswanderings.wordpress.com/blog/