Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fearing change, accepting change and being a changed me.

6 August 2011

As I prepare to go home for my brother’s wedding in a week I can’t help but wonder how much I have changed since I arrived in Botswana almost 16 months ago. There have been many ups and downs; some days it seems like even more downs. However, the beauty of this place is that the good days or hours or sometimes even just minutes can seem to outweigh the long, difficult and depressing times. I know I have gone through many painful moments, many scary scenarios and have seen many things I wish I hadn’t. I also know I have been blessed to have gone through many beautiful moments, many uplifting scenarios and have seen many things that will forever remain in my heart. The changes have been hard; both physical and emotional. I look different and I feel different. I wonder how my family and friends will view me once I set foot back in America. I look and feel considerably older. At 28 years old I look at myself and see an old face. I see a face that has gone through a lot, too much I would say at times. I see my white hairs and I don’t see the product of wisdom, I see the outcome of stress and hardship. When you don’t recognize yourself you begin to wonder what happened and why? Mostly, I can answer why. I’ve seen pain and suffering and I’ve experienced sadness and fear.
These things are all part of life, I know. And I truly believe God doesn’t give us anything more than we can handle though sometimes I question why He challenges us the way He does. I can only imagine that one day we will understand but until then I try to pursue the beauty and hope in the most darkest of places. Sometimes that beauty and hope lies within the light: In the smile of a child, in the voice of an old woman, in the handshake of a wise man. And then there is the beauty and hope that lies within the darkness: Burying a 6 year old girl in the village but listening to the whole community sing her to rest, a student being beaten over the maximum 5 strokes but rising above and speaking out against the injustice, a child who cannot afford to come to school unknowingly gets support from her fellow classmates who are raising money for her school fees. There is beauty and hope everywhere.

Though I feel changed in ways I wish I wasn’t, I am grateful for the changes that have gotten me this far. As I reflect on these past 16 months I realize that the pain and sadness I have felt were a way to show me what needed to be seen. As I prepare for the remaining 10 months I realize that there is still so much to be seen and to be felt, both good and bad. I am as ready as one can be I believe.


  1. You may not see the wisdom, but I do. True, it may be born of stress, hardship, and experience but you are a wise woman that has turned all of that into something powerful. And, if nothing else, know that those children's lives have been so enriched by having you in it. They love you and are forever changed because of you. As am I. So thank you, from all of us.

  2. You're a truly beautiful person Mary, inside and out. I am so sorry for all the sad and hard times you've had but when I look in your eyes and hear your voice I can feel all the passion you have for what you're doing. Don't fear change. I know how hard it can be but in the end it will only make you stronger, wiser and happier. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better person. I love you with all of my heart Mary. And I cannot wait to see your shining and wonderful face (even if it has changed!)

  3. You are amazing Mary! What you wrote made me think of a quote in a book I recently read:

    "On the girl’s brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." -Chris Cleave, Little Bee

    I love you and I CANNOT wait to see you!!!