This post is long overdue. But I find myself in that place (again) trying to figure out what I’m doing and where I’m going and funny enough....the answer isn’t coming...and if you KNOW me well...you KNOW I don’t sit still well...in the place of not knowing; without definition or purpose or meaning. I’m a processor and rationalizer and I’m processing and rationalizing and I’m continually coming up short. And if you know me well, you also know I don’t make a next move till I’m sure....doesn’t mean it has to make sense....I just have to be sure. And since I’ve been back home, it’s just been that. One tiny step after another, trusting, and believing, and knowing that God has some crazy plan cooking up, but not having any clue what that big picture looks like. I just know, I’m in this weird waiting/preparation stage and I’m not getting answers and thus, I’m stuck sitting. In the worst place....where you’re right where you are supposed to be but it’s not really what’s next, and you don’t really have a passion for where you are in the now, but you know God’s doing something and you are here in this season for something and you can’t really go backwards or forwards and so you just kinda sit there. helpless. Which, also, if you know me, does NOT jive well. But it’s exactly where God wants and needs me to be for the moment. (probably cause I, ummm, don’t listen so well, when I can help myself...read blogs from last summer for more explanation). Anyway, I’ve started this blog a thousand times in my head, but I have no clue where it’s going to land, so I keep pressing the delete button. But after this week, and this morning, and tonight, I figured I should. So I’ll back up.....
Ever since coming home I always hear some of the same questions when people find out I lived in Africa. And sometimes I can answer them...and sometimes, I have no clue where to start and so I probably give the simple diluted answer which suffices them enough, but is nowhere near the whole truth. One of these questions is....how do you come back to this after seeing that/how has it changed you? I hate this question. It’s usually asked in passing as if you can answer...well, I used to love rice till I ate a bazillion bowels of it and now, sometimes, can’t stand the sight of it...and then be done answering the question. Riiiiight....and when people ask questions in passing, I always get slightly irritated cause I’d rather them not ask at all. I know, it’s kinda like the knee-jerk reaction people have after they hear you got in a wreck or something...you have to ask something right or you’d be rude. So then I always stand their taking a mental inventory on whether or not they are actually asking cause they want to know or are they just being Southernly polite (which btw annoys the heck out of me-read I hate the fake politeness just cause it’s manners, but you could really care less attitude....I crave authenticity and that just goes against it. completely....soap box over). Anyway...I’m sure there was a point in there probably somewhere around somehow I’ve changed. Outwardly, inwardly, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and well, as someone said today....”you just can’t un-see that” One of the most (noticeable to me) things is that I find it harder to connect to people than I ever did before. Not my friends I’ve had before.....although, the more acquaintance level ones are the first to fall away. It’s kinda funny too cause missions is all about building relationships, but still, I find it harder than I ever did before. I think it’s cause, to get to know someone (new) involves a fair amount of simple chit chatting about nothing. And while I can do that with the best of them....it’s the topics that I can’t always muster up enough excitement or words to fill the space. Mainly in the arena of the latest trends, technology, the over importance of having or doing or being most anything which I usually find quite silly, or fashion, or celebrities, or even TV (not that I don’t watch, I just don’t actually CARE what happens...cause you know-or maybe you’ve forgotten-they aren’t REAL people). I don’t have a problem with you getting all excited about it....I’m just NOT. And so, I find myself, saying no to certain invites, or seeking out quiet corners, or just simply sitting there dreaming about something else while the conversation goes on around me. I think it’s cause my head and heart is filled with matters which, I’m pretty sure my God would agree with me, are just slightly more pressing, more important, more eternal. And I have this deep desire to do something about it and with urgency, but well....did you read the beginning of this post? sigh.
Anyway, for the first time in a long time, I found myself challenged at work. I attended a delivery of a baby boy with a birth defect that is incompatible with life which simply means, he’s safe and sound while he’s inside his momma, was born alive, but the problem cannot be corrected, and he would die, soonish, because he can’t survive on his own. I hate those...I feel helpless. The parents knew beforehand, but you still can’t prepare for that and there’s not much we (medically) can do so you’re just there...helpless to say or do anything that can fix it. cause it can’t be fixed. Then I went back to helping a nurse all night (cause this little dude required just that much attention) with a brand new patient that would become my patient the following night. A sweet TINY (read 1 lb except that was mostly the weight of the fluid his body couldn’t get rid of) little boy that was also fighting for his life. And everything we did made no difference. There was no winning in those shifts. Not us, not him, not his parents. He was in pain and struggling. We could do nothing, and his parents weren’t ready to accept the final outcome. And no amount of anything helped anyone those nights. Which is when I stand there, outside those dang plastic boxes, surrounded by tons of machinery and knowledge, and supplies and medicine, and know the only thing that makes a bit of difference is the prayer I’m offering up while I’m letting this tiny human wrap his entire hand around half of my pinky (cause it’s too small to completely encircle it). My head and heart turn to the eternalness of it all and honestly, I just try not to cry (at least in those moments). Flash forward to this morning at church...the worship leaders had lived in Africa for 6 months and returned about a year before I left and were reflecting on processing everything when they returned and figuring out how to somehow conjoin those lives. They shared a verse God gave them during that time ("Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." from Jeremiah 6:16) that melded so well with the scriptures we were corporately chewing over in Luke about counting the cost to be His disciple; about being salt. But also meld with exactly where I am...sitting at the crossroads with NO firm direction on which path to take.
While working the other night, those two heart breaking nights, I had the privilege of meeting an amazing young lady who I’ve heard a lot about in the last almost 2 years, since I work with her aunt. I’ve been told we’re a lot alike. And after reading THIS www.thedamascusroad.blogspot.com (her blog) I recognized myself in her and it had me absolutely homesick. Not for Africa...ok, well, a little...but I know that’s not the WHERE that I’m meant to be right now....no, it had me heartsick for the eternal. The home that’s set in my heart, the one I long to see a bit of on this earth through the hands and feet of Christians following their hearts and serving Him in the place He’s put them; men and women that have counted the cost and are following Him anyway. The eternal, which is the only way to make sense of the injustice and hurt in this temporary place some of us have settled for as our permanent heart home.
In just 3 weeks, I’ll have been back here in the States for 2 years. I pray I never grow complacent, for a heart that remains pliable and continues to break at the sights that I see daily on my way into and out of my neighborhood, or that I never become okay with being safe and comfortable with the familiar, the routine, or stuck in this box where everything makes sense and is ordered and easy. I pray my soul will not grow weary of doing good, of striving in often fruitless times. That all this will continue to drive my passions and stir my heart and move me to....well, move. Cause, I know it’s not what we were created for. We were created to live outside ourselves, in a way that cannot actually work apart from Him, but always to be stretched, and growing, and pressing in to Him. To serve. I think I’m afraid I’m going to somehow forget as the memories grow a bit fuzzier. That somehow this will all seem completely normal again....worse? That there’s nothing to be done to make a difference. So.....that’s where I’ve been these past months. Sitting. Waiting. Praying. And trying to process in the quiet and the still. Which, I’m quite certain, is just what I need....Oh how my Heavenly Father knows me. Praise God for that!
This song pretty much sums it up..... http://youtu.be/shMpobVFTiU
Posted by erin at 09:15