One of the most treasured seasons in my life was the semester I studied abroad in Scotland.
Why? Among other reasons, I think it was the first time I’d ever felt completely free and uninhibited. It certainly was the first time I’d ever seen a long-held dream realized. I was given the gift of exploration. My whole purpose of being there was to discover as much as I possibly could in five months. It was a ticket to adventure. In a word, it was magic.
But my most cherished memories – my favorite souvenirs, if you will – aren’t of freely exploring, but of friendship forming.
It wasn’t my plan to root so deeply in such a short amount of time. But, knowing my personality, perhaps it was inevitable. Within weeks I found myself warmly welcomed by some of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve known. They accepted me. They invited me for tea, for dinner, to church, and into their homes. They accepted this loud, weird, very American girl into their midst and I loved them.
A year after I returned from Scotland, my friends came to visit me – to explore my country as I did theirs. It was a wonderful reunion! And we’ve continued to keep up with each other’s lives. Recently, we had a lovely Skype date. We chatted, laughed, and prayed together just like old times.
Robert Burns asked of his readers years ago, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” I reply with a resounding “No!” They certainly shouldn’t be. And acquaintance shouldn’t be avoided, either. Think of all the places you’ve gone. All the seasons of life you’ve walked through. In those moments, have you avoided connecting deeply? Or have you embraced the moment and rooted where you are?
Wherever you are, I encourage you to be all there.