In January, I went to the Center for Infectious Disease in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood (if you're a local, you'll know this area is called Pill Hill for its number of hospitals and clinics.) The doctor sat me down and handed me a packet thick with information -- 15 pages detailing all of the things that I could catch, everything I should be aware of.
We went through it page by page and I left my hour-long visit with a little bit of fear of Uganda and everything there that could make me really sick -- or even kill me.
When we landed in Uganda, I was prepared with a list of do nots: Don't drink the water. Don't touch the Nile River. Don't touch the dirt. Don't eat any fruit. Don't get mosquito bites.
Yet Uganda is not quite as scary as I thought, as Americans might think. Yes, you really shouldn't drink the water, but it's okay to shower with or cook with. If you get a bug bite, you won't die instantly. The fruit here is incredible. I have a few mosquito bites -- so far, no malaria. And my stomach is surprisingly happy to eat rice and beans and chipatti.
If I let it, a fear of getting sick, getting dirty or infected, could have ruined my experience. It's not that I completely threw caution to the wind, (husband, don't worry), but I engaged in life here. I held kids -- sometimes very sick kids -- I washed feet, I ate Ugandan food, and my apologies to the doctor -- because I also went in the Nile River.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime type thing -- swinging from a heavy rope out into one of the world's largest rivers. Splashing deep down into water that flows all the way to Egypt, a river figuring strongly in history, a river nearly everyone has heard of.
I think I am called more often to jump in the river, to forgo some well-intentioned advice and just let go -- even if the path I'm following is not the route everyone would suggest or do themselves. With prayer and boldness in God, I want to live life without inhibitions, without worry.
"Since we have such a hope, we are very bold..." 2 Corinthians 3:12