I am home - California

This is the second time that this blog entry has been written. Yesterday, in the afternoon, there was an attempt made to write about my journey home and the computer crashed. The computer says that it saved it, but up to now, there has not been much success retrieving it. My hunch says that the original draft of this blog was much more heart felt and less brain, but we shall see if I can re-write the sentiments I have been feeling as of late.

It has been a week since my arrival from Africa. There is just so much going through my mind and processing through with requested prayers of guidance. In this last past week, I am finding the hardest words to put out about my journey to Africa. I look for this English word and that facial expression and they do not match. Sometimes I wish we were mutants, I could place people’s palms to my heart or forehead, and they could absorb it all that way. However, we do not have that kind of technology yet.

Since my arrival, several kind people have asked me ‘how was my trip?’ It is not an easy reply. There are times when I am just tongue-tied and then there are times when I want to explode with a thousand words. Then there are certain moments I just want to keep for myself.

That is what I find to be the scariest. The more I share the stories and life lessons the more I seem to forget. The less the moments seem sacred. Sometimes I wonder if my connections back home, really want to hear about it.

For some reason, since I have been home, there is this emotion of protectiveness with me. There are some aspects of Africa that I am not ready to share. It feels as if I had visited my best friend, and had expectations of all the fun stuff we were going to do that day and just bond with one another. When it turns out that, she has invited me to my house because she is not doing so well. She has been abused, she has been taken advantage of, and she is in a situation that she is just not so sure, how she is going to come out of it. In addition, what seemed to be a time to learn and discover more about one another, turns into a time of listening, praying, and hoping on her behalf.

What do you do in a moment like this? As she, talks you hear her heart in her un-assured voice and you want to cry but cannot. You look around her home and see that it is clean and the blessings of God are evident everywhere. If you closed your eyes, you could hear happy livestock, butterflies, and maize shuffling with the wind and you know that God takes care of the whole universe. However, what do you say when you open your eyes, and see the condition of her heart?




Is that the appropriate response? That is minimal. She is your best friend and the response should be genuine and honest. So what do you say? A week passes and I still am silent. I have no words. I am just finding tears.

There is a level of confidentiality that I experienced. Divine moments between God and His creation and for some odd lucky reason I got to be a witness to it. I got to see how God relates to His children at large and I am so blessed for it. I retain these confidences in my heart, perhaps for a few days longer or maybe even a lifetime.

Yesterday, the last of the unpacking happened. I found room for my keepsakes of Africa. My beads from New Orleans made room for the Masai beads I brought home. My mug for Vegas that sits on my desk moved over for my acacia mug from Nairobi. My kikuyu scarf now folds neatly next to the scarf I purchased in London and they have all found a home. My room is filled with small treasures from around the world and my heart grows and stretches. It stretches with memories of where the Lord has taken me physically around this globe.

However, as I compartmentalized everything to fit into my living space, I wondered if I would compartmentalize Africa. Would I put HIV/AIDS in this box? Would I put child headed households here? Is there room for the orphan issue in this spot? In addition, as I was putting away my belongings, thoughts of how minimal we can make such huge portions of our world flooded my mind. That if we squeezed it and folded it up just right we can place it right next to all of the other things God has shown us, and it will still fit and not make that much of a dent in our collections that we already have started. When I close my closet, it looks like I may not have even touched the soil in Africa. When someone looks at my heart, does it look like I have not touched the soil of Africa too?

I do not know.

I got an email from Mary at CRWRC today. She sent it to us from the group. I think we are all in the debrief/process phase. So perhaps this is my blurb processing through.


Lizzy! Welcome home! I've loved reading your posts! You have an expressive writing style.You know, when I've come back from missions things, or any cross-cultural trip, it's so hard to translate to people what I've seen and experienced. I think people want to know, but don't know how to ask the right questions. 'How was your trip' sounds so superficial, esp. if you feel like you have to sum it up into a concise sound bite, but it may be the only way people have to open the conversation. I think it helped me to try to have grace for the people back home who were genuinely interested but didn't know how to ask me about my experiences. But I wanted to let you know that you are welcome to come over for dinner and to bring pictures and talk our ears off about Africa for as long as you like!
rubyslipperlady said…
While some people do compartmentalize, I doubt you will, Liz. You will likely take this and make it a part of the fabric of who you are in Christ. It will always be with you.

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