Do you know why Charles Darwin boarded the HSM Beagle on December 27th, 1831 and what really happened to him as he sailed the world for five years? You may be surprised that the answer to that question won’t be found in history books or even personal journals. To know the truth you have to study the heart of a man. This is what I think motivated Darwin.
First, Darwin’s older brother exploded into the public’s eye a couple years earlier when he introduced a new method for tossing chamber pots out of windows. This drove Darwin to step out from under his brother’s shadow and window. Second, he’d grown tired of his mom picking out his underwear for him, but moving out of his parents’ house would have solved that. No, I think he sailed away from England for five years because of a girl. Just like most broken-hearted men, he figured an adventure would cure his ills. Little did Darwin know that the hussy who dumped him like last night’s chamber pot was a tramp and not worth his time, but I guess if he’d figured that out before his trip he wouldn’t have set sail and never grown as a man. Growth is inevitable when you see more of God’s creation. God evolves the heart and the mind through time. So as Darwin sailed from island to island he was changed. He forgot about his broken heart, his brother, but not his mom. He’d actually missed having fresh undies.
But seriously, a little more than a year ago I flew down to Guatemala not knowing what I was doing with my life or that God was going to evolve my heart and mind. I was a blank canvas waiting for an artist to paint on me his masterpiece. Now my canvas resembles the beginning of a fine painting. So why am I still in Guatemala? My mom stopped picking out my undies years ago and when I left no girl had broken my heart, nor do I have a famous sibling who hogs the conversation at the dinner table. I’m here to serve God and to grow. Last year I grew quiet a bit, but I know God is not done yet.
So, what does serving God look like for me this year? Well, I’ve been attempting to reach out to my students in a more personal way, despite the fact they can be mean and loving all in one class period, by inviting them to do things outside of school. I hope that God uses these times to show them how much he loves them. By doing this I’m changing. Like the little fox in Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince I’m becoming tame to my students. They aren’t just faces in a crowd, they’re individual kids that need the love of Christ.
No matter why Darwin set sail, his trip around the world changed him and my time down in Guatemala is changing me. I know that I’m more self-reliant. I cook for myself, which means I’ve been eating a lot of pbnj’s or going to friend’s houses’ for dinner. I’m slowly learning Spanish. Although my conversations in Spanish are still short, I can tell my friends all about my time at the gym. Quite frankly, God has made me more confident. Before I left I was having trouble talking to people at all because I felt so lost. I’d graduated but didn’t have a purpose. I’m not that man anymore. I have a purpose. I know more of what I want out of life. I want to share God’s love with those around me and use my writing to communicate the truth of life. I’m no longer afraid to open up to people, which is a must when you want to see your students open up about what is going on in their lives. I’ve found that when you share a little about who you are they often are willing to share a little of who they are. And that’s how both sides grow; evolve. Mostly they tell me about their love lives and yet I sit down most every night and pray for them. I plan on returning to the states eventually and like Darwin I’ll know a little bit more about the world. I’ll know that I’m a man seeking after God’s heart with my eyes wide open. That’s an evolution I hope happens to everyone.