Monday, April 18, 2011

Baffling Silence.

For those who are part of my newsletter list or friends on Facebook, my silence has not come as a surprise. However, for those who only know me by this blog, my silence must have been a bit baffling. Sorry for that.

I’m new to blogging. I wasn’t aware of what my silence would do to my faithful readers. I get that now. Please forgive my blunder and let me explain.

The work I do in Sudan is taxing. It is 24/7 of unrelenting pouring out. In wisdom and concern, my directors told me before coming, I’d need to leave Sudan every 3 to 4 months for a little R&R.

After 12 years of living and working in Sudan, they knew that taking a break would help me maintain perspective. At first, I thought it was a bit excessive, but now I see the wisdom of it all.

Living in the Sticks doesn’t facilitate a weekend away. In order to get the needed rest, I have to fly to Kenya (our base country). But since there is only one flight in and out each month, I often have to leave for a month at a time.

My first R&R was last September. I spent my time getting used to my new setting and meeting other missionaries in the area. It was refreshing but VERY expensive.

When I complain to my Kenyan friends that Nairobi is expensive, they often try to disagree with me. For Kenyans Nairobi is pricy but not exorbitant, but for Mozungus, it’s outrageous.

Perhaps my reference points were all twisted during my time in the Philippines (where you can eat a meal for 50 cents), but I find Kenya to be a tourist trap of outrageous price-gorging and luxury.

Sigh.

So, as my second R&R approached, I felt conflicted. I knew I needed to rest --- my brain was fuzzy with fatigue-- but I also dreaded the idea of spending so much money in Kenya’s capital.

Sharing my dilemma with friends in Europe, they instantly suggested I come to spend my time with them.

At first I laughed. There would be no way I could go to Europe for cheaper than staying in Kenya. But when I looked into it, I was surprised to find out I could.

That is how I’ve found my way to Europe.

As I sit in this chilly cafe, techno music drowning out the espresso machine, I can’t tell you how far away Africa feels.

Was it all a dream to which I’ve woken with a start?

As I shake off the sleepy confusion of these crowded few weeks in Europe, I find myself trapped in a mire of culture shock. Sigh.

I’ve never felt more disoriented. I’ve never felt more unnatural. I’ve never felt more at home.

An illegal alien, but one adept in dissimulation and mimicry, I’ve slipped into my European cloak. No one suspects me for the intruder I am.

Here, I’m not a Mozungu. Here, no one calls me Kowaja. Here I’m a faceless number in the crowd-- a short smile that passes by in scarf and jeans, unworthy of note.

It has been a time of forgetfulness and escape. I’ve lost myself in this crowd. It’s been oddly comforting.

Thank you for praying for me to have this restful break. Thank you for making this trip possible. Thank you for loving me so well and caring for me so dearly. I’m unwinding... but there are still a few persistent knots.

Please pray with me as I slowly unravel them. They are tricky knots soaked in tears and confusion. Please also pray for my personal Bible study time, it’s more of a chore then ever to read His precious words. Pray I can take my knots to Him and find rest. Thanks.