I’m living in this crazy space called paradox today. Paradox is something that combines contradictory features or qualities. In this crazy life we live, there is constant paradox. Learning to become familiar with that, even thriving in it, is paramount to surviving long term. In Africa we live in a constant state of paradox around us – how can such a beautiful, breath-taking place be filled with so much poverty and hatred? All these things intermingle around us each day.
Another common paradox we face is a day like today. Today I go home. Yet I also leave home.
I am so excited to go home to Kenya and see my friends and my church family, to be in my own house and hang clothes up in my closet rather than pack them back in a suitcase, to cuddle my cat, to greet my neighbors, to get back into a routine (no matter how chaotic) that is familiar and gives my life some rhythm. Yes- I am ecstatic to go home!
Yet I also leave home. I leave the familiar patterns of the USA, the easy access to absolutely everything, the smooth roads, the soft ice cream, and most of all – the people I love. I leave family, friends, churches that love us and are familiar and healing. The hardest of all these goodbyes is to my son. (Well, I leave Shawn today, too. However, as sad as that is I will see him next month again! I know it’s not long term!)
I leave my son, my baby, on this continent and travel almost 8,000 miles to to another continent and culture be home. It means missing out on the trips to college to see his room, homecoming, getting to know the friends and girlfriend, and all the normal things that parents get to be a part of when they live a bit closer. There is so much pain in these losses for both of us.
Yet I asked him if he was hurt that I am so excited to go back to Kenya because it means that I won’t see him until Christmas. And that boy – oh he is a TCK – he said, “No, I understand, Mom. I can’t wait to go back to Nyack and be in my life there. But that doesn’t mean I want to be away from you guys.”
Yep, he gets it.
So today as I get on the airplane and start the long journey home, I will be grieving and crying for the home and relationships I leave here as well as anticipating a good arrival and the continuing of friendships in my home there. To be able to experience both of these emotions in full force at the same time – to be able to navigate them, name them, and live in them – that is living in paradox. There is always happy and sad mixed together. Grief and joy.
Thanks for your prayers.