This week has been hard.
I've spent most of it in the hospital with my grandmother, whose body has a love/hate relationship with her pacemaker.
This means hospital food, long days, and lots of time to think.
I'm not complaining; in fact, I'm very thankful that she is getting good care and that I am in a situation where I can drop everything and go and be with her.
And while I was there, I was very well taken care of by my friends who live in the area. They brought me breakfast, met me for dinner, and gave me a place to stay when she was moved to a part of the hospital that doesn't allow overnight guests.
And while staying with some friends, I had a much needed conversation with a friend of mine who recently spent three months in Uganda. And by 'much needed', I mean that I'm pretty sure there's no one else who could have understood me like she could.
To just put it out there, since I came back from Africa, I've become somewhat of a hermit. I have been the most anti-social I have ever been in the past month and a half. If you know me in real life, you'll know that anti-social is one of the last phrases I think anyone would ever use to describe me...unless of course, we only just met, in which case I think it would be very appropriate.
Why do I not feel comfortable talking to my friends?
Why am I avoiding conversations and social outings?
Why do I think I'd feel more comfortable in Africa with a big fat language barrier than I do here at home?
I wish the answer was simple, but it's just not.
Basically, I think I can break it down into two key areas of concern.
1. I'm just disgusted.
I'm so bothered by the amount of waste in our country.
It hurts me to see us (my family included) taking so many things for granted or spending our money on things we just don't need or doing so little to help those around us.
It upsets me to hear people complaining when we essentially have nothing to complain about.
I am so disgusted with the racism that still exists in this world in which we live; we can give someone a new heart from a pig and grow a baby in a tube, but yet we still get hung up on skin color.
It breaks my heart to see people not appreciate all we've been given.
Please know that I realize God has called all of us to feel passionate about different things. I also realize that how people choose to spend their money and their time is their business. But it still hurts. And yes, I realize that a little over two years ago, I didn't see Africa as a priority either. In fact, I don't know that I would have gone had you given me a free ticket.
I was completely indifferent and unaware not only of the hurt of these people but of their beauty.
But God has opened my eyes;
I see differently now.
2. I'm afraid people just won't understand
Our trip was not fun. It wasn't supposed to be. We worked in a children's prison, for peet's sake. We didn't go because we were looking to have 'fun'. We went because God tells us over and over again in scripture that we are to do for those who can't do for themselves.
So when someone comes up to me and asks me about my trip, one of two things will happen.
Either I'll say 'fine', simply because I know that no matter what I say, I am incapable of fully explaining what I saw and experienced; there simply aren't enough hours in the day.
Or, I'll try to explain, to which the poor person I'm speaking to will leave feeling completely overwhelmed as I've just thrown two tons of hurtful, unimaginable images at them in big, rambling sentences. I've probably cried and talked to them for thirty minutes about something that is simply impossible to fully imagine and understand. It really is a YOU HAVE TO SEE FOR YOURSELF experience. This happened last week at Old Navy. I ran into a former social club sister and talked her poor ear off. The poor girl was just enjoying her morning, and I left her mind reeling and her heart hurting.
It's hard when you feel so passionate and so strong about something that others just aren't that aware of or don't know what to do with.
I have changed.
My heart is not the same as it was two months ago.
But the world around me is the same.
I have some of the best friends in the world.
I am sure of it.
They are wonderful and Godly and supportive and understanding.
They aren't doing anything wrong; they aren't being insensitive.
Do I regret going to Africa?
No, no, and certainly not.
In fact, I've currently praying hard on an opportunity that has arisen that would allow me to go back soon.
I'm literally itching to step foot on Africa soil again. The other night I started thinking about it and got so excited that I couldn't sleep, in spite of the fact that I was well past exhausted. Will I go? Not sure, but I'm praying about it and am willing to do whatever God has planned.
And I am very thankful that God has given me a few close friends who also have a heart for Africa.
They've experienced it.
And I have no problem taking their pretty little ears off.
Do I think I'll maintain hermit-like status for forever?
But for now I'm focusing on the fact that I like this person, this girl I've become who loves a country that she's only been to once, this girl who would rather talk about Africa than just about anything. I dream about it, I think about it, and I am truly passionate about doing what little I can to make a difference,
even if it's only for one.
I like having my eyes opened;
I like seeing,
even though it hurts.