The world changed while I was in Kenya last week.
I spent about 20 hours a day focusing closely on the work of Mercy House. I counted miracles and I asked for more. I returned to breaking news of a more broken world, my children talking about bombers and explosions. My heart splintered by a global reality and sadness in our own country.
They are different kinds of pain, but both hide the sun.
And cast shadows.
I am catching up on muddied laundry from Africa, searching the abyss for lost socks and scratching notes on random slips of paper, trying in vain to catch up. I wipe blue marker mustache from my little girl’s mouth, listen to my daughter play her new flute piece and watch my son hit the bulls eye with his bow. Dinner is in the crockpot. Stacked suitcases by the door. Unspoken sorrow mingles with the joy of home.
I am the same mom. I will never be the same.
And I’m tired.
Not just because jet lag nips at my heels and I pry my eyes wide open through carline, I’m tired of seeing so much pain in this world.
I’m exhausted from reality. And I long to unsee images of frightened runners and a burning school in a sleepy small town. I want to stop seeing the bewildered faces of teen boys high on glue and the violent, drunk father we dodged on our home visit to the slum.
My husband asked me last night if I was depressed. I shrugged my answer, a sure sign that I don’t know what to do with all this seeing.
I had panic attacks nearly every night I was in Kenya, mostly induced by blinding fear. I huddled in bed and cried and I prayed for the Light of morning. It always came.
Some moments so glorious and divine, I longed to take off my shoes.
I look towards the Son, the blinding, bright Father who is Light.
I’ve been a mother and on this journey long enough to know there are shadows that do not lift, pain that doesn’t fade, sorrows you can’t escape. It’s not so much about unseeing or overcoming, it’s about letting His Light lead you through the dark places.
We are not alone. His Light will lead us home.