I don’t know who I am.
It’s a startling realization to not recognize yourself: My own voice sounds hollow. My eyes hold a distant stare, remembering all I’ve seen in Africa this past week. My thoughts keep me awake at night.
Just days after I returned, I found my husband carefully watching me. “I don’t feel like I know you,” he said softly, beckoning.
“I don’t feel like I know me either,” I said.
And I cried.
I feel more than guilt for such an easy life, accessible food, clean water and abundance. I feel aware. The blinders are gone. I can’t pretend I don’t know how the poorest of the poor live. I can’t act like there aren’t children who go to bed hungry. I can’t ignore that 30,000 children die each day from preventable causes.
I can’t stop thinking about Vincent, living as an orphan and father, in squalor. When I close my eyes at night, his face is what I see. I see him in his “home” that’s not fit for an animal.
I see the joy of the Lord in his eyes. Peace. I see Jesus.
I think that is what is so hard. I cannot reconcile his lack of every basic need and such fullness in his heart and life. The two don’t mix.
In America, in my town, in my home and heart, I complain about a dirty house, yard work, needing a “break” from cooking or my children. Every basic need is met, PLUS more luxuries than I can count.
With so much, how can my joy be incomplete?
How is it that I can see true peace in one of the largest slums in the world, where the smell of death is prominent and it’s rare in the most blessed nation?
I’m not sure how to mix these worlds together; how to show my spouse all that I’ve seen and all that my heart holds, or parent my kids without guilt.
I don’t know how to find myself again. I don’t know how to return to my everyday life when children still need to be sponsored. But I’m trying.
I am so thankful for this place, although foreign and uncomfortable, I’m not alone. God is right here with me, leading me into new places.
I may be out of Africa, but it will never be out of me.
I’ll be privately reflecting this week, but will still be hosting Works For Me Wednesday this week and also The World’s Largest Nerf Party this Friday (giveaways, included! There’s still time to have a party with your kids to celebrate Mason’s defeat of cancer!).