It had been a week full of thoughts of Africa. My time there, friends going there or living there now, friends adopting from there now. Mostly of how strange it is that I am coming on the two year mark of NOT being there myself. It’s such a strange bittersweet feeling to be loving the life that the Father has laid out for us here and now, and still be so intrigued and connected to the world I left there behind.
Last week, visiting with a dear friend in South Carolina recently returned from a stint overseas herself shared a bit of insight. She said that our minds have trouble allowing the possibility that both the America we come home to and love and the poverty stricken overseas world we love and work in can coexist. In order to process our time overseas and our guilt of being back, safe in America, we must allow the reality that both worlds not only coexist but continue, rather unaffected by our absence.
When my direct involvement there ended, I separated myself mentally. Africa became an accumulation of my memories and recollections, a concoction of my own experience. I forget sometimes (many times) that my friends there, the places I walked and slept and ate and bought oranges at are still there (in some form or fashion). They are living their lives just as I am living mine.
With the realization has come a flood of memories of my time there, sweet memories this time. Being in the south of the country at a conference and walking down these little dirt roads past families washing their clothes or driving in a totally ridiculous rickshaw blaring Akon as we drove puttered down the long road from the airport to our compound with the hot wind in our faces. Laughing with our language helper over something silly or that time I couldn’t say a national friend’s name to save my life (Her name and the Arabic word for small goat were almost imperceptible…at least to me) but for some reason Little Goat was convinced I could say and probably repeated it 20 times.
It’s a good place. And I do miss it.
I hope to go back again one day and take Graham and my babies to see those places that were so hard and good and meaningful. I want to hug my little African momma’s Nufeesa’s neck and see my friend Weesal’s weird, tacky wedding pictures.
I’m smiling as I write this, because there were times over the two years I was there (let’s be honest, there were times in the two years SINCE I’ve been there) that I never thought I’d miss anything about that place. I’m so glad I do.
My narcissistic mind has trouble wrapping itself around the fact that life continues, unabated, without me anywhere I’ve been and left. But it’s sweeter now thinking of that. Thinking of my friends and the dirt and the heat and the weird smells and the awesome bread.
So if you think of it today, pray for them. Pray that they are well and smiling today too.