I hadn’t quite been able to figure out what was going on…. until today. A number of things today contributed to an emotional climax/anticlimax:
1. Sitting and listening to Stef’s prayer of the promises of blessing we have already been receiving, and which we’ll receive in addition, because of the choice we’ve made to be away from family and serve others.
2. When our rehab team huddled together to share what they’re thankful for as our weekly Thankful-Thursday tradition, but especially today being the US Holiday, Thanksgiving. We each one tried to share what we’re thankful for with choked up throats and teary eyes. Many of our hearts were a complex mix of sad-to-to-be-away-from-home but thankful-for-the-connection-with-friends-and-family-back-home-and-for-shipmates-onboard.
4. When one precious little 5 year old patient who’s been in pain and dopey, suddenly grinned, breaking through with a broad smile and started engaging and laughing and kicking his casted legs in the air in jubilation. My heart melted and broke as he mispronouced “Meeeshell” in an adorable French-Fon accent, repeating it over and over and over while reaching out to grab my hand.
5. The regular intensity of repeatedly saying goodbye. (Which is not ‘normal’ but also is in this place) Seeing off brothers and sisters-in-Christ, colleagues who are more like the soldiers you fought alongside in battle; not knowing how long it will be until ‘see you later’comes. It’s shattering.
And finally… When my sister-in-law posted this picture of my nephews on the other side of the world in Australia. About that time… I just sat on the floor (again) and sobbed.It is bizarre how you can be totally surrounded but feel isolated and alone. It’s overwhelming to have a years worth of so much new and amazing amd heart breaking stuff to process which is crammed into only 4 ship-weeks. We’re living a life where 1 day is like a week, 1 week is like a month, It’s just a lot to take in, make sense of, enjoy, and be thankful for. It is beautiful and it is not short of incredible, both the good and the bad. It is just alot. And that’s ok.
Since I came back to the ship I have definitely been rocked and shaken. By both the weight of living away from what I know in SA to be home and the beauty and privaledge of living here in this place that’s become home. I scarce can take it in.
But there are sweet moments which are blessings from Jesus which are also fragrances and proof to me of who He is. I have brothers and sisters all over the world now. I have supportive friends and family in SA who reach out, comfort, support and pray for me. I get to see glimpses of comfort, joy and promise when a timid, scared and in-pain patient suddenly breaks through and engages. I get to see Jesus and his blessings when people sing and dance in praise on a dock thousands of miless from their home. I feel Him in the warmth of a colleuges empathetic touch. I hear Jesus through the care and time given to me in a voice note from my dear friend back home, despite her own traumas. I taste Him in the delicious braaied chicken from today’s dinner-on-the-dock and most definitely in the Cadbury’s whispers my mom picked out for me to bring back to the ship. I know Jesus’ promises more when he orchestrates the right conversation with a friend who’s been having the same feelings – so that I know I’m seen and not alone. I see Jesus is the beautiful parents He’s made for my nephews. I experience Jesus in this place daily.