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Baron’s Blog

Diary 20 (the dangerous comfort zone)

As I was waiting in line to board my plane to Haiti a woman asked me “so  what do you do for a living?” I excitedly responded, “Well I just  graduated from college!” She then asked, “So you mean your unemployed?” I  thought about it for a little bit, and then it sunk in.

Crap! I am  currently unemployed, and since I moved out of my house I am homeless as  well. Good thing I strained my calf in the bowl game, at least I might  be able to get disability (I am joking for those of you that just took  me serious).

Real world here I come!

Insanity  wouldn’t begin to describe my last 2 weeks. The day after my last  college game I was on a plane to Haiti with a group from Lubbock, and  I’m actually writing this entry from Haiti now. I’m heading back to the  States tomorrow morning.

Since I haven’t written in a week I’m sure this piece of literature will be an interesting one.  Gees where do I start?

Umm, well lets just start from my last college game. Here we go.

Two days before I  played my last college football game the agent whom which I was going  to sign with after the game calls and says that a running back higher up  on the draft board was wanting to sign with their agency and they  wouldn’t be able to sign me because they no longer had enough room. Yeah  that actually happened. This was my first introduction into how  cutthroat the NFL is. I was pretty stressed simply because all of my  flight plans and living arrangements immediately fell through and  changed. Not only did I not know who my new agent would be, I knew I was  leaving to Haiti the day after the game and wouldn’t have any time to  meet new agents or make new plans. To make matters worse I had ceased  contact with many other agents prior to my new agent search. So I was  frantically scrambling to completely re-arrange my plans, and on top of  all of this I still had a football game to play.  As hard as I tried not  to let it, the stress consumed me all week, and I even began to doubt  if I should actually go on the trip to Haiti.

I started to  think that my future was way more important than some mission trip to a  third world country. I thought that the extra week in the states would  be good to start a new agent search and begin training, being that  all-star games are right around the corner. I thought,  “well, there  were enough people going and they really didn’t need me to go.” All I  did was try and rationalize all the reasons why I should stay in the  states and not go to Haiti.

Finally I  realized that I was being a punk. My thinking was uncharacteristic of  me. I realized that I was worrying about life and not living it. I  always tell myself this one thing “never NOT do something that is good  because you are afraid or worried about what might happen”

Ok, I decided then and there. I was going to Haiti. Lets go!

My last game  didn’t go as I would have imagined, or liked. I wanted to go out with a  bang and that wasn’t the case at all. I ended up with a handful of yards  and a strained calf muscle that kept me from playing in the second  half.

This made me  question the Haiti trip even more. Knowing that NFL training was  starting immediately and I should probably rehab my calf. This is what I  thought to myself “baron come on man, you really shouldn’t go, your  homeless, jobless, injured, and don’t have an agent. You should stay  here and look out for yourself. You have a right to be selfish about  your future.” Or do I really?

It was hard for  me to be disappointed about the outcome of my last game knowing that in  less that 24 hours I would be in a third world country where people  worry about what their next meal will be, a place where people die  because there simply isn’t safe water to drink, a place where people  would be happy to drink the water that comes off my body after a post  game shower, because the water I think is filthy is still cleaner than  anything most of them will ever drink. It definitely put being  disappointed about a calf strain, not having an agent, being homeless  and not playing a half of a football game into perspective. However,  It was definitely strange when the game was over and the realization  hit that my time at Texas Tech had finally finished.  It was strange  saying “see ya later” to people I had known for 5 years, and knowing  that I wouldn’t “see them later” it was goodbye. It’s strange to lose  relationships in a matter of minutes. It was definitely bitter sweet  taking off my jersey for the last time, and saying goodbye to my group  of running backs I had been so close with. Everything comes to an end at  some point though, however every end is the beginning of something new,  just like every sunset is a sunrise somewhere else.  Chapter closed.

-Turn page here-

New chapter starts now.

I step off the  plane and I am in another world. There were murmurs going around about  kidnappings, riots, burning cars and Americans being thrown in Haitian  jail.  I definitely wasn’t in Texas anymore, and I would be a liar if I  told you I wasn’t scared and regretted my decision immediately. I was  out of my comfort zone and thrown into a very dangerous and very real  situation unlike anything I could have ever imagined or had seen on T.V.

We worked  closely with a family who owned an orphanage with over a dozen kids,  most whom had been left orphaned and homeless by the earthquake in Port  Au Prince. The thing that astounded about this family was that they were  very ordinary and very WHITE  Americans that had decided to simply step  out of their comfort zone and do something that was extraordinary. The  reason I made a fact to say that they are white is because I felt very  out of place being in Haiti and I looked just like the Haitians, I could  only imagine how a white family that stuck out would feel.  Dr Kerry  Reeves was an optometrist and his wife Joy was a typical southern  housewife with an unmistakable southern twang. They packed up and are  now running a Haitian orphanage full time, while I almost chickened out  of the whole trip because I had a strained calf and a few things that  had me worried back in the States. How much faith did I actually have? I  quickly learned that it wasn’t as much as I previously thought.

Haiti made me  realize that many of things I worry about are actually things that I  should be excited about.  For example, I worried about not having an  agent, while I should be excited about the fact that I even need one. I  worried that my calf was strained and I’d walk with a slight limp for 2  weeks, when I should be excited that I have both my legs. I worried that  I didn’t have a permanent address, while I should be happy that I don’t  need one because I have people that would let me use theirs in a  heartbeat.  Ok,  I’m not wasting anymore time worrying. I’m diving all in, even though  I’m out of my comfort zone because that’s where we grow as people. We  grow as people when we are terrified out of our minds and don’t want to  go any further, when we tremble at the thought of taking another step  but we decide to do it anyway.

The rest of the  trip was amazing but very difficult and sad in many different ways. The  more I got out of my comfort zone, the more I was able to connect with  the people even though I couldn’t speak their language. I never realized  the magnitude of holding a child’s hand until I walked into a refugee  tent village of about 30 orphans that all ran to me to simply hold my  hand and hug me. I never realized the magnitude of having clean water  until I saw someone actually dying because they didn’t have it.  It’s  the everyday basic necessities that I am now thankful for.

Think about this  before you start worrying about things this week. Are you living life  or just worrying about it? Are the things you worry about, things that  you should actually be thankful for? Are you living inside your comfort  zone, and are you brave enough to step out? God bless.

For more of Baron’s thoughts, click Here.

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