Eid al Daha was last week, a significant holiday for Muslims and so our office was closed for 5 days. The hubs and I were pretty stoaked for this very timely 5-day weekend. There’s been a lot on the last several weeks. I’ve had some ongoing mystery pain, we had money stolen, our upstairs neighbors had pipes burst that meant our kitchen ceiling was dripping, and then we had some sudden and jarring changes with our work leadership. As far as the leadership goes, we’ve been managing, but there have been some distinct changes and it was a big loss for our office. But the long weekend wasn’t as restorative as we’d hoped. The hubs got sick with a two day migraine and a sinus infection. I wasn’t feeling great. And instead of much productive rest we mostly slept and ate cookies.
All of these little layers, accumulating over lingering issues we’re still dealing with a bit as a result of traumas in the last few years, I dunno. It makes the little load we carry feel a bit heavier sometimes. I’m on my third/fourthish country in five years and I’m of course wondering a little bit about when enough might just be enough. But, like I’ve told my very patient husband, I cry a lot but I don’t quit easily. He tells me I’m the toughest person he knows. And I tell him that he’s really got to meet more people.
I can’t emphasize enough how happy we are to have finally settled into a place and how fulfilled we are with our work. It’s challenging, but it wouldn’t be fulfilling if it wasn’t. We are happy and we are thankful.
Today I spent some time reading through some of my old blog posts from my first few years overseas. I like to reflect and I always find going through old musings to be a fruitful exercise. There’s no better way for me to identify ways I’ve grown or to track God’s faithfulness. Or to remember really good things. So I sat and read and remembered. And felt the ache in my chest for my home in the land of sand. So much has changed. The centers where I was volunteering were shut down. And there are so many people I don’t have any way of being in contact with.
That wound still hurts a bit. How quickly the life I was building there was forced to an end. I don’t know if I’ll ever love another place like I loved my desert home. I smiled as I remembered the boys, the staff, my community there. Life here is not the same at all and this city is not the same at all and the majority of the people here are not the same at all. But they are neighbors. And people from my desert home are fleeing here for refuge. And I get the unequivocal distinct pleasure of getting to serve them here.
I had a strangely vivid dream the other night that a group of the boys I was working with in my desert home showed up in our office. In the dream I was delighted and I cried and hugged them (even though in the dream I knew that was culturally inappropriate). I advocated for helping them find work and introduced them to the hubs.
I can’t go back and I can’t really help them from here and I’m angry about the injustice and their lot in life. I don’t wish to cross paths with any of them here–it would mean that things became truly desperate there and they were out of hope. And while I still miss them and that hot, dusty city, I watch all of the people who come through our office and think of those boys and I’m really glad that I can be here to help the ones that were desperate enough to flee and I’m really happy that we get to be a part of, hopefully, restoring some hope for the ones who do pass through.
Really, genuinely, loving what we get to do. And…at the same time, it’s hard and this city is nuts and I’m going to whine sometimes.
But the Lord is my Shepard. I shall not want. Here we are and here we shall remain until it’s clear that it’s time to move on.
“May we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ
To rejoice in trials and not be surprised
May our hearts be so consumed by you
That we never cease to praise.” (Never Cease to Praise: Jeff Bourque)