This past Saturday, Belinda and I left Kylie and Lauren at the front of the Kotoka Airport in Accra. A few tears were shed, many hugs were exchanged, and we headed home to an eerily quiet house. I spent the day reflecting yesterday; cleaning (as it seems I tend to do when I feel like I am mentally cluttered), and reading the Word and praying.
|My beautiful African sisters.
It’s funny how we always begin something knowing that it will some day end, knowing that with every hello there will inevitably be a goodbye. I came here knowing someday I would leave, and the girls arrived and I knew that I would eventually be leaving them at the airport. Yet, even in the saying of goodbyes, the memories that led up to that point make every goodbye worth it. So even though I miss my lovely African sisters, I am choosing instead to be thankful, even in a quiet and empty house! So here are a few things I am thankful for today:
1) Christmas music. It makes writing report cards a little more bearable.
2) Cockroaches. At first glance, I know they are atrocious and disgusting, but Friday night we had the most hilarious half an hour trying to kill the monstrocity on my bedroom wall. It involved a shoe, a ‘back up’ book, and Celtic music … someday you’ll need to see the video. I will probably laugh for years to come at the memory!
3) Language barriers. Today, a few kids I met on a walk came by to hang out. We can’t speak to each other very well, and that’s really hard. But it makes you be creative … it makes you tickle them more. It makes you make funny faces some more. It makes you realize that even if you can’t speak, presence is so much more important.
4) Tears. Because you know what? They are precious to Him. He catches every one in a bottle. He is near to the brokenhearted. He calls those who mourn blessed for they will be comforted! And yet we push away tears, and we tell kids to stop crying when maybe we should be telling them to see those tears as precious.
5) Mangoes. Seriously, there’s no better fruit. Honestly. I will write about mangoes and my love for them until the day I die, probably.
6) Sore knees. I’m not good at being disciplined and working out, but Kylie and Lauren were the best encouragers and I worked out with them for the past few weeks. And then I hurt my knees doing one too many squats – but you know what? I’m proud of those sore knees. I’m proud that I was trying my hardest! And I will take my sore knees as a reminder to work hard, but know my limits, too.
7) Clingy students. Even though there have literally been moments when I’ve run away from kids who won’t let me go – I know that I will miss those moments. Clingy kids remind me to love just a little bit more, to hold onto them just a little bit longer, to kiss away their tears, because maybe there’s a reason they are clinging to you so tightly.
8) The ability to write. I don’t think I ever really thought about how blessed I am to be able to read and write. But being here in Africa has made me realize just how much I love writing, and I think the thing I love about writing is that it lets me see beauty in brokenness. It lets me work through things. It let’s me make the most ordinary, mundane experience become beautiful. And it lets me take my story and wrestle with it, and see that even in the broken cracks His redemptive fingerprints are still there.
Those are just a few of the things I am thankful for today. What are you thankful for?