It's funny how we spend so much time in life waiting to arrive at some place that we can't quite put our finger on. I don't think it's a place that can be found this side of eternity.
Surgery on the ship officially ended today. The ship will be sailing in a few short weeks. In less then four weeks I am coming home for a three week Africa break in Philadelphia. I'm excited about coming home and seeing old friends and drinking fresh warm coffee.
I spent my day cleaning our now empty Peace ward in preparation for the upcoming sail. My music was playing loud, I was able to sing along, and the bleach water didn't sting my hands, so I must admit I rather had fun. There's something quite fulfilling about physical labour.
A mass exodus of crew members is occurring over the next few weeks and it is sad indeed. I have been a bit distracted by the constant effort to "those last few things with those last few people you love before those last few days they leave". It's always a bit unsettling to say goodbye to Friends that you very well may never see again (other than on facebook of course).
As I think of going home, my pure excitement is overcast with a small cloud of dread. I have been surrounded by poverty for almost 6 months. I have met people from all over the world. I have been on adventures. I have seen the remnants and product of the worst in men. I have seen the hope and generosity of saints. It's alot to experience but it's even more to process.
I am afraid the culture shock may cut painfully deep as it probably should.
Coming to Africa I thought I might have some deep revelation or spiritual insight into what my ultimate calling in life was. There was a small effort to hold my breath in hopes that the entrapped air in my lungs night be released in a infinite and complete manner.
But I still feel like I am holding my breath.
The short breaths keep my grasping for air, grasping for direction, grasping for purpose, grasping for security, grasping for faith, grasping for reality, grasping for God. There is a daily dependence that must be learned. A moment by moment realization of the frailness and inability of ourselves.
We are suppose to be meanders. We are suppose to be hoping for something eternal. We are suppose to be storing our treasure in heaven. However, when the moment of faith arrives, when the refining fires burn and the heat reaches my skin, I look to what is next, I complain about what I don't have, I long for the greener grass. While this is the place where I ought to arrive. This is where I am called to live. Uncomfortable teaches us to be content. Contentment frees us to succumb to faith and love.
I'd like to learn to live there.