Do you ever find yourself in a moment in time when you don’t know what on earth is going on? I don’t mean that in a condescending way; but rather, in relation to your circumstances or surroundings, have you ever found yourself wondering how you got there? And how do you figure out what you do from there? It’s a tough set of questions to answer; but are definitely worth asking.
I’m currently finding myself at a fork in the road, metaphorically speaking. As I am about to embark into the wonderful world of weddings and married life, I wonder if I am ready for the changes that are about to occur, and if I will ever be ready, for that matter. Is it a blessing in disguise, in that I know I am meant to be married to this person for the rest of my life, but I just don’t quite know how it will all unfold? It is moments like this when I begin to consider if adequacy and ambition go hand in hand, or if they truly are worlds apart.
Not what I was expecting!
About a week ago, when I was in the middle of wedding planning, I got an email that mentioned that I had been granted a scholarship to attend a conference down in Tasmania. What I would usually be happy about turned out to be a logistical nightmare; one that I inevitably knew I had to turn down. It so happened that I met with the organisers of the said conference that evening, where I had to explain my situation and the fact that I simply could not attend, despite being quite grateful to be granted the scholarship.
One of the leaders present, then proceeded to ask me if I could attend a different conference, just for one day. It happened to be a weekday when I usually took a day off, as I am currently in a period of transition work-wise; so I figured I could do it, that is, until they told me what it was for—it was to meet with the United Nations! My jaw almost dropped to the floor. Talk about pressure. I couldn’t believe my ears. This was not the answer I was expecting at all.
A bit of background
Now, you have to understand; I had studied International Developments as my major in my master’s program and had worked for a number of non-profits over the years who had partnerships with the UN. But I had never actually met with a high-ranking official from the UN directly, nor had I officially been invited to participate in any conference that had even the slightest connection to the UN.
After I had sufficiently recovered from my initial shock, the leader in question went on to tell me that the United Nations High Commissioner was flying in from Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with young leaders from around Australia, who had either a refugee or migrant background, and were considered active in their communities. Only two people from each state were usually selected, and they mentioned that I would be one of them.
Suffice to say, I knew I was way out of my depth. What happened next was a bit of a blur, but I eventually found myself on a plane a week later heading to the conference arranged by the Australian Human Rights Commission. After exchanging pleasantries, I found myself across the table from the UN High Commissioner herself, who, I was to find out, was also the first female President of Chile.
Amazingly, the meeting went for over an hour, and I found out she was one of the most down to earth, considerate, and humble human beings I have met in quite some time. She explained that, as a young child, she had been a political refugee who had been imprisoned for her activism, along with her family. She made it to Australia along with her parents, who later died in prison.
Upon returning to her country, she fought for her rights and began to make changes, eventually being twice elected to political office in Chile as head of state. Eventually, she founded UN Women and became the High Commissioner. However, she said, through all the changes and the changing circumstances, she knew that young people were the key to change, and were to be recognised as leaders of the moment, not just of the future.
Just what I needed to hear
Looking back on that moment, I realised that it was just what I needed to hear. Perhaps the circumstances in life, as we often find out the hard way, are beyond our control; but our response to them doesn’t have to be. As we make choices and decisions, we begin to see the ripple effect over time, both in our own lives, and in the lives of others. These changes may not happen immediately, but we can learn from them as we take one step closer each and every day to the place where we are meant to be.
So, when you find yourself in a moment in time that seems out of your depth, and you wonder which path to take, remember that you are never alone. God is always in control of your destiny. It may seem impossible but, know that He is there with you.
That’s the real blessing in disguise.
Joseph Kolapudi is a TCK born in Australia to Indian parents, and returned from California where he was studying theology at Fuller; currently, he is working with a missions agency, continuing his love of writing by contributing to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html