In my hoodie and yoga pants on my favorite chair under a fuzzy electric blanket. It has been snowing all day and I have been completely and totally lazy and content. I love looking up and seeing my kids. I loved having coffee with my husband this morning. I loved my shower and my own bed.
2 days ago I was in Africa, South of the Equator. It was Spring. I was sweating. My senses were constantly alert to the unfamiliar sounds, smells and sights. It is so hard to make sense of it all. How 2 days can change everything.
My 2 weeks went so fast and were so busy I could not remember what happened the day before. So today, when I sat back and looked through my pictures and told some of my stories I was able to reflect on the entire experience.
Being overseas will never be a normal thing for me. I am always in total disbelief that somehow I get to do this. But I have the same feeling when I am standing in front of a class of Social Work students or leading a staff meeting or advocating for Orphans and Vulnerable children in a local church.
Even today as I stood in my kitchen watching my 2 children sled down the hill in the back yard, I felt this. Life happens. It just keeps going, and somewhere in my life I had this idea of who I was and what I would do and I never expected that I would actually be a real adult. I am capable of doing things: parenting, teaching, working, speaking… I can be strong, but I am also so fragile.
I think being strong makes me more fragile, because it makes me vulnerable. There is more for people to criticize. I have more to lose. My love is deeper so I will hurt more.
For example, these last 2 weeks I was contracted to work in 2 different communities with 2 groups of professionals. I was thought to be competent and capable to go to foreign countries and teach what I know. And I love this work and I love my partner in this work and I have loved every group I have ever taught, but what if, one day, it goes wrong? What if one day, someone does not like what I have to say. And even more scary: What if nothing changes? What if I don’t change?
I have seen poverty that is incomprehensible. I have seen blank faces of children who do not know love. I have walked the same streets with people who use children as slaves. I have heard cries of children that are not answered. But I just keep living my life. My life with heat and water. My life with bank accounts and credit cards. With cars and vacations. With clothes and shoes.
And I used to cry coming home knowing I was going to miss so much of the culture I was a part of. I used to live in regret that I did not spend a semester abroad or live with my family in a country as far away from the US as possible. But this last trip, despite loving the work, I longed for home. Instead of being jealous of the “Ex-pats” I met, I thought they are crazy for leaving home for so long.
I am not sure where I am going with this rambling, but I know I am so so happy to be home. And at the same time I know I am pushing down, so deep, my totally wrecked heart. Because all over the world it is okay to let children suffer, cry and become completely obsolete. I just want to bask in the blessings I have in my comfort and health and family. I want to stop worrying and hurting and longing for the worlds I have seen because sometimes it is just to overwhelming.