What If?
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What If?

Summary:

You never know what Epic Adventures are waiting for you right around the corner. What if you don’t say no right away? What if you say, “What If?”

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I feel like I am a positive person most of the time. I have an optimistic outlook, and I typically expect the best outcome in uncertain situations. I’ve been known to say, “How bad could it be?” while I dive into the deep end of a somewhat murky plan. If something goes sideways, I figure it out. It doesn’t always end well, but it always ends with a good story.

But at the exact same time I am poising to dive, I am also assessing risk. Show me any situation, and I can instantly tell you 10 ways it could go wrong, and how to prevent that from happening. That doesn’t always prevent me from diving in, though.

In November 2022 I was presented with a unique opportunity, and my brain immediately went to all the reasons I should say no, except for the whisper in my heart that said, “What if?”.

And that changed everything.

Here’s what happened:

I was on a video chat with my niece Amy who lives in Zambia. She and her husband Ben had planned to go to Turkey to an annual conference, and Ben’s mom was coming to stay with the kids the week they would be away. She had to cancel at the last minute, and they needed someone to come look after the kids, otherwise Amy would have to stay home. They had more than enough points to cover the flights — is there any way I would consider coming to Zambia next week?

What my brain was thinking:

1. What about my husband?

2. What about our three dogs?

3. What about Renewing Hope, the new mental health ministry I am leading at my church that needs a great deal of my time and attention? Who would lead the sessions if I wasn’t there?

What my heart was whispering:

  1. What If?

I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes. We kept talking and dreaming about how it could happen and what it would be like to travel overseas for the first time all by myself, with flight connections in exotic cities. We talked about how amazing it would be for me to have that much time with the kids, building deep lasting relationships. We talked about having a mini-getaway, just Amy and I, with time alone to talk about all the things that matter to us. The kids popped onto the video chat saying, “Auntie Lisa! Are you coming??”, pulling my heart strings. The more we talked about it the more I really wanted to go, but I needed backup in a few areas before I could commit.

I talked to my husband: “Of course you should go — you’ve been wanting to visit them in Zambia for years. I can work from home most of the time to look after the dogs.”

I talked to our girls (who are both fully launched adult women, but I still talk to them about all my big decisions): “OMG Mom!! GO!!!”

I talked to my friend: “Of course I can come let the dogs out if your husband has to spend all day at the office.”

I talked to my pastor: “This sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Can someone from your team lead the ministry while you are away?”

I talked to my ministry partner: “I am happy to cover for you. What a great opportunity!”

And just like that, in a matter of a few hours, every potential obstacle disappeared, and I started planning.

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Ben booked the flights and made sure my 10-hour layover in London happened during the day so I could go explore the city between flights. “I’ll just hop on the tube and go check out Big Ben” is something I NEVER thought I would say! I changed planes in Ethiopia (going) and Dublin (coming home). I didn’t have time to leave those airports and go explore, but I can say I was there. My travel experience was mostly glitch-free, but when it wasn’t, I figured it out.

I fulfilled a wish list from the kids for what they want me to bring them from Canada. I bought a new travel backpack that fits my laptop. I journaled the entire experience because I don’t want to forget even the smallest detail.

I had no idea when I woke up that Tuesday morning that I would be making a packing list for a trip to Zambia later that day, and it wouldn’t have happened had I not said, “What If?”

You never know what Epic Adventures are waiting for you right around the corner. What if you don’t say no right away? What if you say, “What If?”

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