Saturday morning, at 6:30am, the hubs and I were suddenly woken to what sounded like an explosion. After wondering aloud what in the world that was, I said “Let’s assume it was some nearby construction until we get up in a little while.” Over breakfast the hubs got on Twitter (a technology that I’m still not sure how to work) and saw that it was an explosion in another part of town just over the bridge, at the Italian consulate. One person was killed and a few injured, and the building heavily damaged due to almost 1,000lbs of explosives. This is less than two weeks after another bomb killed a lead Egyptian prosecutor.
After each of these events there is, admittedly, a few moments where I wonder how much longer I can deal with life in less-secure places.
We’ve been here for about six weeks now. And we’re new here, but it’s not our first rodeo. We’ve lived in insecure places and situations the last few years. And this city is huge. Lots of things happen and rarely would I know about any of it if I didn’t check the news. Another ex-pats advice when we’d newly arrived was to not check the news. I suppose this is a good coping mechanism for some. And I understand. I go through phases in life where I can’t really cope with the news. But don’t worry, this is advice I’m not taking. For these sorts of things it’s important to keep your finger to the pulse of what’s going on. For now foreigners are not being targeted, and we have a good sense of where to avoid in the city. Where we work is quite a safe part of town, and where we’re moving soon is in quite an inconspicuous area.
So with the occasional immediate reaction to attacks and explosions being “Ack! What am I doing here?!” My next thought is thankfulness. I’m safe and where I want to be and doing what I want to be doing. This kind of life calls for stubbornness (and I’m quite sure my parents would agree that is a trait they were soooo blessed that I was born with) and I’m still far from the point of calling it on this way of life and choosing something a little easier on the nerves.
But that day may come. And it may be sooner or later than I may think that it is. I’ve learned that things can change very quickly. But whenever I start to wonder if that time may be getting near, I think about the events and the turn of things that have happened even in the 4.5 years that I’ve been living in this part of the world. More wars, conflicts, genocides. More people hurt, fleeing, seeking refuge anywhere else. Persecution and famine and shortages. One in every 122 people in the world right now is a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. Almost 60 million people displaced by war, violence, or persecution. So much desperation. And I can’t yet. I just can’t yet.
I’m not as naïve as I was when I first went out. I know that breaking points come. And, yes, now that I’m married some things have changed. The risk assessment is different. It was different when the choices about the risks to my well-being, were mainly to mywell-being. I did keep my family in mind, but when you’re (very happily) yoked to another, well…it’s different.
We got our one year work visas last week. Which is a huge relief and answer to prayer. The plan is still to be here at least two years. And we’ll keep evaluating along the way. But we’re fine. Quite fine indeed. We feel safe enough, and we’re happy to be talking through this stuff and making these choices together. Please be praying for our safety and for this troubled and uncertain world.
“Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the next hour or following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the next step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry, and not ask for the great beam that would take all the shadows away.” Henri Nouwen