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.