To Columbia (Or Anywhere)

 photo by Hunter Folsom

photo by Hunter Folsom

By: Ivy McGraw

I came up to the door, and peeked into the diamond-shaped window, looking around for signs of life. I didn’t see any, but I tried the handle anyway. The door was unlocked, so I figured my friend who I was there to see had intended for me to enter her home on my own.

I heard a curious voice call out, “Hello?”

I answered, “Lark? Is that you?” I expected to see the red hair of my friend when the voice revealed itself, but the voice-bearer turned out to have blonde hair.

“No,” the voice responded in confusion. Preoccupied, but stopping to fix her attention on this unexpected visitor, a familiar face smiled at me, “why, hello!”

“Oh, hey Liv!” It was Olivia, one of Lark’s roommates. She was wearing a simple striped dress and holding a mug of coffee in her hand. She was mobile, in the middle of something. “How’s it going?”

“Oh, so good. I have been packing everything!”

I then remembered someone saying something about Olivia leaving for a long trip outside of the country.

“Oh, yeah— when do you leave?”

“Today! In the next couple of minutes, actually.”

“No way! Remind me where you’re going?”

Olivia proceeded to explain that she was moving to Columbia in January, but was first spending three months in Texas, her old home, for a time of preparation.

Upon moving to Bogota, the capital and center of Columbia, Olivia and her team will work to make disciples, develop communities, and plant churches, pursuing outreach toward all of Columbia, in time. Pausing from filling me in, she murmured her thoughts, processing out loud her list of completed to-dos, including me in her present narrative.

All the while, I was witnessing her transition—watching her move about the house, picking up and setting down her coffee, and making sure she had what she needed. I gathered that she was not going to be returning to this house.

When I asked if I could help her, she graciously accepted the offer, and recruited me to hold her car keys while she gathered her outgoing load. We took her belongings out to her car, which was parked in the street.

I noticed the letter in Liv’s hand. She explained that the house across the street had always been her favorite house in this city since she’d first seen it four years ago. She had since prayed and hoped to step inside that house before moving away. She looked at me and beamed as she confirmed that she had, at last, met the elderly woman of the home and gone inside for breakfast and conversation just a few days prior.

I watched Olivia walk up to the beautiful house across the street to deposit the letter in a mailbox by the front door. She walked with joyful assurance. We realized I still had her car keys, so she took those, and dipped back into her house to grab her mug of coffee and last couple of light load bags.

“Are you going to come back here before you leave for Columbia?”

“Um, maybe! Actually, no—no I’m probably not…wow.” Liv halted in realization. She took a key off of her key ring.

“I guess I won’t need this! Would you give this to Lark or put it somewhere visible inside?”

As I took her key, I realized it didn’t just symbolize this house, her roommates, or even the end of college life, but that Olivia was moving away from tangible, familiar stability, and toward an adventure of which time and practical details she knew not. Standing there on her porch, I asked her a few more questions, and she asked me about my life, too (which, in that moment, felt far less exciting). Then, we exchanged good-byes and good lucks.

Walking to her car, Olivia turned around and shouted, “go change the world!”

I could tell she meant it.

She drove off, and I went back inside to wait for my friend, the one who I had originally come to see.

This spontaneous encounter infused me with peaceful excitement. People—all people—we are FREE to do things; to change course; to face uncertainty with boldness. We are free to pursue change in the world, like Olivia meaningfully instructed me.

Reader, do you intend to change the world for something you stand for? What if I told you that you can?

Let’s try it: Hey _________, go change the world! You really can.

Please visit to read more about Olivia’s transition to Bogota, Columbia.