The saying is true, isn't it? A picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Since our arrival home it seems we're fumbling forward. At times blatantly failing forward. People ask us, "How was your trip to Africa?" Our smile and casual niceties, "Wonderful!" or "Amazing!" or even, "Phenomenal!" don't come close to describing the experiences. Twice, we've done an "Africa presentation" of sorts. Twice, we've failed in our attempt to connect.
What is this lonely feeling? It came from out of nowhere. How do I describe this... the disconnect.
And so, like the boy in the picture above all dressed up in his school uniform, all smiles. I continue to go forward in this my life full of niceties, pleasantries, deeply grateful. And deeply ruined.
My dear friend, Kimberly, has always had a way of saying one little statement that will have me thinking and pondering for years after. Recently, she wrote me an e-mail, "So, would you say that Africa has 'ruined' you for simply enjoying the good life?" Yes, something like that... (I'm pondering that...)
Our family is reading Just Courage by Gary Haugen. He describes the relentless restlessness that invades my heart. The "vague discontent" that keeps me awake in the wee hours of the morning.
The scent of sunshine and dirt is still fresh in my memory. The children so easily contented with a smile, a song, an occasional game of tic-tac-toe in the dirt. So easy to love. Amazing how this spending of one's moments fills restless voids. How exceedingly glad I am for these moments, these bits of Heaven on earth!
I find myself pausing to pray more often -- for friends on the mission field, those who are going home on furlough, (and those about to enter the mission field). For my children. For my marriage. For the beautiful people in my life who amaze me, inspire me, challenge me. For the stranger who I exchange pleasantries with along the journey. Restlessness poured into sacred moments... sacred bits of Heaven on earth.
This precious boy's face has found it's place in the front of my mind's album. How he greeted me everyday in Dzuwa with his unconditional smile. How he wore the same tattered shirt every day -- yet always clean, freshly laundered... the fragrance of sunshine and April breeze. How I've stood in front of my wardrobe since, a sigh, corners of mouth turned up slightly in reminisce, selection to choose from on what to wear... blessed bits of Heaven on earth.
The plethora of children who filled the Trading Center. The aroma of citrus as three little girls stood eating a fruit, its skin dark green and prickly, sweet juice running down their arms. ...The delicious egg and sausage casserole I made for breakfast this morning. ...The comfort food Potato Soup I made for dinner (in the blessed, blessed Crock Pot!) on yesterday's chilly, rainy day. ...The yummy Breyer's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream for dessert. My taste buds loving edible comforts, bits of Heaven on earth.
And while I live grateful, content, simply overwhelmed by all the little ways God demonstrates His love and care for me everyday... there's that part of me that's been stirred... the part of me that the Potter has softened, remolded... enlarged...
...the part that's ruined me for simply enjoying the good life and stirred up restlessness in its place...
So, I guess I'll keep fumbling along. Failing forward when necessary. Loving recklessly. Following in my children's footsteps -- these people who love and live so freely. Spending their moments seizing bits of Heaven on earth.