The van rocked back and forth as my youth group drove along the Appalachian mountainside. Gazing out the window I noticed that the houses were very small and the dirt yards were filled with garbage and stray animals. I was on my first mission trip and was nervous about what we were going to be doing and what the family would be like. As the van pulled over on the side of the dirt road, I could see the house. It sat right beneath us on the side of the mountain, with warped wooden boards creating the siding; the house looked as if it would blow over if a gust of wind came by. My team’s job was to begin the foundation for a new addition to the house, which would add a bedroom and bathroom with running water, none of which they had.
One afternoon, while eating lunch, the mother told me that she would never trade where her home sat because she had the best view of the sunrise over the mountains and could see all of the stars at night. The mother seemed so happy and calm everyday we went to work and there was always a smile on her face. Over the next few days I began to take in the scenery of the mountainside; it was beautiful. At night I looked up at the sky and realized that there were twice as many stars shining compared to what I could see at home. On the mission trip I had the time to take in the stars, trees and sky, but I realized that as soon as I returned home that all changed. During my time in the Appalachian Mountains I felt calmer, but at home or school it seems that life was usually chaotic.
Today most people seem to live a life that demands for more than twenty-four hours in a day. It seems as though there is always something I could be doing at every moment from studying for school, going to work, spending time with friends and family, attending practice, but there is never time to take a break. Technology allows you to be connected to your work, activities, friends, and family at all times, but when is there time to breathe? I believe that we if all take the time to look up at the stars once and awhile or wake up early to see the sunrise that life will slow down. I believe that when you stop thinking about what to do next and take a few long breaths to clear your head that life will slow down. Life is too short to not breathe and notice the world; I believe in slowing down.
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