Growing up in South Texas, I have grown accustomed to the good things in life like the beach, breakfast tacos, and of course HEB (my personal favorite). For those who are not aware of the greatness of what HEB is, simply put, it is the ultimate grocery store that serves your everyday needs. It is quite great. I mean, there is a reason that HEB stands for Here Everything’s Better. It may sound weird, but I don’t want any other store.
I started my summer internship this past week in Athens, Texas. And to my shock, there was no HEB around. In fact, the nearest one is a half hour away and doesn’t have nearly as many selections as what I’m used to. I was shocked. Being 3 1/2 hours from home isn’t that bad, but I cannot just take a drive every weekend to find comfort. I felt alone and a little apprehensive about being here.
For anyone that knows me, I do not really get scared. I enjoy new situations and the challenges that come with them. But the more and more I think about this statement, I realize that I’ve always combatted new opportunities with people I know around me or in a place that is familiar to me. Now all that seems gone. Sure, I can text friends or talk to those that I have met, but I feel like I am by myself for some reason.
After reflecting on this first week, I have begun to realize that maybe it was a good thing that I was out of my comfort zone. I mean, at some point or another I would have to encounter the unknown somehow. But I also know there’s more to it than just that. I have begun to realize that I have subconsciously started to rely on myself more than God in times of trouble. It all starts with the smallest of matters and before we realize it, the small matters turn into more important matters.
I do not like to say that God planned for this happened, that I would experience these feelings of being alone. But rather, I believe God was always there waiting for me to pick Him every time something happened and I chose not to. It was this choosing that led me this point, but I can also choose to turn back.
As I am typing this, I am reminded of when Jesus was tempted in the desert but how in every temptation, Jesus kept his focus on knowing that God was greater and a relationship with God would leave to greater happiness and feelings of inclusion than relying on his own power and strength. That’s what I want my life to be like. But I know I cannot be perfect. We as humans are going to have these periods of feeling close to God and times when we feel far. Or maybe a better illusion is of the prodigal son and being in an unfamiliar land by himself. And as he is preparing to beg at his father’s feet for forgiveness, he is met with a hug and kisses and the jewels of the family.
As I am just starting my summer, I hope and pray that I can be reminded of where I began this summer. Outside of a theological perspective, being in Athens is really cool. There’s a big lake that I got to wake surf on and some cool little places to eat. I got a haircut and a wash for $15 (that’s unheard of in Austin). My host family is great and love UT like me. The First United Methodist Church here is wonderful and the members are great. I am looking forward to what my internship will teach me and what this town has to offer. I may feel alone now, but I am choosing to rely on God for my comfort now. There may not be an HEB in town, but this town does have other things so maybe it’s time for me to go explore.