The In-Between

Reverse culture shock.  Re-entry.  Whatever you want to call it, it happens.  I’m finding myself in this weird place between life here in New York and my two amazing weeks in Ethiopia.  It feels like life here was placed on pause, and on Tuesday night, January 11th, I pressed play and jumped back into it.  My life in Ethiopia feels so far removed from my life here.  I’m still fighting to reconcile the two, to find a place where they can converge and be meaningful.

I have seen and experienced so much.  I have rediscovered a place and a people that I love deeply and miss terribly.  My heart has been overwhelmed and overflowed, broken and overjoyed.  There are moments I well up with tears, sometimes of joy, sometimes of sadness.  There’s a loneliness I’m struck with, the idea that no one here can understand.  Missing my team, my family for the past two weeks.  Wishing I could transplant myself back in time and back to Ethiopia where life just makes more sense.  And yet it’s also a place where life makes absolutely no sense.

My heart aches for my friends who have no place to sleep tonight.  My heart aches for my friends who probably did not eat dinner, who have no shoes on their feet, who have no family to go home to.  And I log on to Facebook or Twitter and see post after post about things that do not matter.  I see complaints and greed and self pity and then I get angry at the world for not knowing any better.  Then I’m reminded that there was a time that I didn’t know any better.  And even worse, a time I knew better and disregarded it.

Living in ignorance seems ideal, doesn’t it?  “Ignorance is bliss,” we say.  But our ignorance does not erase the pain of the world.  Just because we pretend something does not exist, or even honestly don’t know that it does, doesn’t make it any less real.  For so many people it is their reality.  Homelessness is their reality.  Poverty is their reality.  Abuse is their reality.  Prostitution is their reality.  Being orphaned is their reality.  Illiteracy is their reality.  Disease is their reality.

What do I do with those realities?  That is the question I bring to God.  May He teach me and lead me and guide me.  May He deliver me from my selfish tendencies and my fleshly craving to live in ignorance.  May He continue to provide opportunities for me to be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world.  May He continue to change and soften my heart.

Jesus came and died for all those harsh realities that are so very wrong with this world.  May the love He gives and the hope He brings be that which drives me and that which I long to share.

“I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.”


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