August 28, 2012

Playing catch-up

I'm all out of words these days and it's just enough to make me batty. Because it's in the words, and it's in the getting them down, that I make sense of life all around me.

So when there aren't any? I'm all clouded up, in a fog. 

But I think maybe I'm missing all of these faces and I think I'm ready to talk. The end of summer is pressing in and we've done well here. Tanned little bodies and a backyard full of bats, balls, butterfly nets, bug jars. In the everyday hours, my feet waded in the river and my knees bounced a boy at the pool. We ran in too-tall grass out back, swatted at monster mosquitoes. We blew endless bubbles and I lost, over and over, to a four year-old at Old Maid. She laughed hysterically every time, fell over backward, when I pulled that old hag from her hand. We blended smoothies and I tricked them right before their eyes, tossing in handfuls of spinach, avocados. We traveled and summer-camped, watched Gabby and co. flip for Gold.

Life, this summer, was good. Mind and body, we were all in. My heart, however, has been keeping it's own time ... trying hard to catch up.

When I got off that plane all jet-lagged and beaded-up, a friend said I didn't have to have any answers. He said, "When people ask what the trip meant to you? Tell them, 'I'll let you know in three years.'" And I laughed nervous and thought, "Well that would be really rude." But the truth is?

I might have to tell you in three years.

On the surface, our team touched down and we served long days, long lines. We pushed through and then re-boarded a plane. It was quick and methodical. But I've spent my life pouring over statistics and books and relief organizations: praying that Jesus would feed his hungry, fill hearts and bellies, stop the brutality, ease the oppression. I waited for the time to go and see, touch, look someone in the eyes. Just. Learn. Something. And while I was there, I was all there: body, mind and spirit.

Hands and feet, finally.

And now? I'm looking at little faces in my kitchen and we're flipping pancakes. And all the while, those other faces hang in my mind. Lovely faces. And while I'm listening to my girl explain why koalas sleep all day, I'm hearing Mandela Beatrice in Uganda. How she waited all night at age six, the same age as my girl. How her parents never came home. How it was the LRA and an ambush. How she longs for a mother to rub lotion on her back, buy her a bar of soap. How she sang right then and there: "I'll never leave my Lord"... then asked me to pray everyday for her future.

I'm thinking of a fifteen year old with a daughter turning one. An orphan- turned- mother and who really needs all of the details? I told her she was a wonderful mama, the way she bounced and sang to her girl, blew raspberries on her tummy.

I'm remembering Bweyale, a resettlement camp, and the metal fence dividing the Compassion school children in green from the refugee children in rags. The two women who smiled like the sun-  peaceful eyes, warm words, beautiful English. They held my hands and told how they walked from Sudan. Walked. How they fled from war. Lost children along the way.

They spoke of how it won't matter if there is peace some day. They won't go north again.

So I'm here and life is good, more than good. I'm just in a bit of limbo, in the healthiest sort of way.  I'm not angry or despondent or detached. My heart just got home a bit later than my feet and that old fire in my bones is raging. I'm restless and trusting God who is here and there. Trusting I didn't spark the fire on my own.
I'm thinking on those faces and all of the joy, beauty amidst strife, across an ocean and I'm resisting the urge to frantically DO. I'm choosing to cool off and quiet down by staying close to the One who knows and sends and preserves life. I'd like to get back on a plane or earn a new degree. I'd like to hold up a megaphone.  

But just for today: I'm trusting that He knows how often they cross my mind. I'm trusting that they don't ever leave His. I'm reading and learning and telling. I'm waiting quiet, praying with zeal like it all depends on me ... knowing full well that it does not. 

And I'm remembering all of the faithful who are scattered over this planet- loving, serving, risking, reconciling, advocating, chronicling, innovating for change. I'm remembering that God is not absent, nor is He silent. He is present in all ways, in all places, at all times. He is visible. He is tangible ...

in His people.

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