Thessaloniki

[Written on July 29, 2017 while traveling between Belgrade, Serbia and Athens, Greece]

I’m currently sitting in the Thessaloniki train station waiting for my train to Athens. I spent the whole night on the train to get here. It was chilly, I didn’t sleep much, and when I got my jacket out of my bag, I think I popped my thumb on my left hand in and out of socket and it’s incredibly sore now. I’m in Greece! We went through Macedonia last night which didn’t help my attempts to sleep because I woke up every time someone came through to check tickets or passports. I fully intend on going straight to bed when I get to the hostel tonight. The exhaustion isn’t helping my anxiety, I just wrote about leaving Tatjana in Kikinda and right now I’m trying not to cry again. I keep telling myself to focus on today, focus on the fact that I’m in Greece and get to see some really cool things. Focus on the train, on small things, about how great it was to see Tatjana and Nash and not think leaving them. My last night in Budapest, as I was crying in bed, I tried talking to God. I told Him I didn’t understand why I was having so much anxiety, that I thought following my dreams was supposed to be much easier.

Whenever someone follows a dream, everything they do is so amazing that any “struggle” sounds small and insignificant, barely worth mentioning. Here I am, doing something I’ve been dreaming of doing for so long and my anxiety is sucking all the joy out of my trip. I didn’t enjoy Budapest when I was there and I could have. Even with the shorter timetable, I’m still panicking, I feel as though I’m going to vomit, and I’m very aware of how alone I am. I’ve always been fairly proud of how independent I am and how easy it is for me to be alone and take care of myself. I’m realizing that because I can doesn’t mean I have to.

In Pilgrims Progress, Pilgrim gets to the cross, looks at it, and his burden just falls right off his back. I’ve spent my whole life believing in God, doing the right thing, listening to what my parents and the church teach, and here I am. Burden heavier than ever, crying into a blanket, alone in a country I’ve never been too, wanting to be like these people who seem to have it so easy and all together. As I grew up, I would watch the people in church and my parents put on a brave face and act like their lives are good. That by going to the “right” church every Saturday, being involved, wearing the right clothes, and by doing the right things, they have their act together. If I tried to talk to them about what’s going on, they’d look at me knowingly and ask if I was having daily devotionals. I understand the thought, spend time with God, be more like Him. What frustrates me is how I’ve seen those same people treat others who aren’t like them. Seeing how they treat those who are religious though not SDA, those who are SDA but don’t go to church regularly, those who walk into our church looking different, anyone who doesn’t go to church at all. They pre-judge and it bothers me. I’ve listened to people talk about how God is love and how vital that is just to turn around and speak so poorly of their neighbors, in and out of the church. I don’t understand how something so important is so neglected and I have trouble listening to them because to me, they are two-faced. I want to focus on God, on casting my burdens on Him. That night, crying into the wall, I tried to let go. I told God He had to take it because I can’t do it anymore. In the Bible it says to “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.” I’m trying to do just that, to submit, to do what I’ve been taught. So why is it still here?

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