Part I is here.
Memories of my trip to Neuhemsbach as a 23-year-old law student surfaced while reading books about living a fuller life. When I considered the concept of pushing past fear and stepping out of comfort zones, that story was the bright shining moment that came to mind.
I stepped out on faith when I boarded that one lone bus of the day going to Neuhemsbach. I trusted that a way would be made.
Here’s the second part of the story. The part about how everything I needed and more was provided. The road the bus dropped me off on did indeed lead right to town. My memories awoke as I saw the houses at the edge of the village. I began to feel more and more confident that I could find the street my house was on. …honestly, how could I not? There are not very many streets in Neuhemsbach.
I found the house. I walked up to the door, but couldn’t knock on it. Oma surely was no longer living. I decided to go to her son and daughter-in-law’s house, our former landlords. I was amazed at how correct my memories were of this place, and thought I could find their house. I did. I knocked on the door. I’ll admit, I remember them and their son Stephan and daughter Natasha, but I didn’t have clear pictures of their faces. What did that matter anyhow, that was 15 years ago.
A woman answered the door. I asked if she was Frau Uhl. Ja. I pointed to myself and said, Becky Lawrence. Yes, I went by Becky as a child, that doesn’t mean anyone needs to start calling me Becky. I digress.
Next, I was swept up in a hug and we were both crying. I spent the weekend at their home getting lots of use out of my English-to-German dictionary and gesturing to communicate. They drove me to the airport in Frankfurt when my time came to an end. It was a better ending than if I had found transportation back to K-town on my own. It was a better ending than I could have imagined, and it began by taking a risk and enjoying the unfolding of an adventure.
After writing part I of this blog, I dug up my journal that I kept that summer. I realized something in opening it and reading my in-real-time account of this journey. I thought myself a badass, risk taker in my 20’s. I read the following to my husband and declared, “What happened to this girl? I like her!”
It’s 11:35 and I’m in Kaiserslaughtern. I got here about this time yesterday. I’m on a street that I don’t know the name of sitting on a metal tire hub, which is the base of the bus stop sign. I think I’ve been here about an hour and my butt thinks it’s been three hours. I’m reading a John Grisham novel which I bought yesterday. I’m waiting on a bus that will hopefully take me to Neuhemsbach, but I’m not positive of that. … I want to do this really I do, but it’s scary. This is the part of the trip that says, “Ok, Rebecca Lawrence, what are you really made of?” …I’m made of tough shit, that’s what I’m made of. When I decide I wanta do something I do it. … I wanted to go to Australia and Houston in one summer and had to find the money to do both. I did it. I wanted a 4.0 in grad school. I busted my butt, had no social life and my disordered eating patterns erupted into full scale bulimia, but I did it. I wanted to go to Miami even though I’d never been before and couldn’t afford the school or cost of living. I did it. I wanted to go to London. I did it. I wanted to travel to Germany alone. I did it.
Look at that resume that young Becca laid out for me! Here, I thought I needed to learn to follow my passion. I was going to start taking risks and stop letting fear hold me back, but I am already that girl. I just stopped doing those things.
Jobs and husbands (ok, just one, that’s plenty) and kids and responsibilities and baskets of laundry and the ho-hum of life have just settled in on my soul like the fantasy-sucking wet blankets that they are. Not that any of those things are bad or even abnormal. They are all part of life, but I had lost the adventure.
How do I do the laundry and chauffer the kids and make the dinner and not lose the adventure? I don’t know exactly, but step one was starting a blog and being open enough to the possibilities that I discussed my eating disorder. I don’t know how this one ends, but if my Neuhemsbach story has a lesson, it’s that the spontaneous, faith-based, passion-driven actions can hold the most reward.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller