Saturday, April 6, 2013

Things to Think About...

[My favorite place to think!]
Sometimes, you just need to think. You know what I mean?

One thing that I've learned about Liberia is that it is near impossible to find peace and quiet. Which makes it hard to think sometimes. I typically find myself thinking on the beach (when nobody is around...which is hard to come by sometimes) or in the shower. Yes, I said it.

I've been trying to think all day, but haven't found the time, space or amount of silence to think. So that's where I found myself tonight. Thinking about the dichotomies of this country in the shower.

How can you never be by yourself, but feel alone? How can your day so quickly take a turn? How can life look so different when we're all people created by God? These are the things I ponder.

There was nothing super spectacular about today, and there was also nothing terrible. The weather was good--not too hot, and a nice breeze--and I went about my day with a fair amount of ease. But there were moments that made me stop.

When I opened my front door this morning, and looked across the Atlantic. Breathtaking views, mighty waves, that salty breeze. Absolutely beautiful. This is my happy place.

And then you venture out onto the highway...the place where life happens. So many people, colors, sounds and smells. Women selling produce, babies taking baths, children walking to school.

A few hours later and I'm heading to an orphanage. My most favorite place in this country on a Friday afternoon--under the mango trees at Frances Gaskin.

But between leaving the house and driving less than 10 miles, there was alot to take in. Things to process and think about. Decisions to make. And that's when memories of my previous life in Liberia came rushing back.

You stop quickly at an orphanage to drop off some medicine. For a child that's burning up with fever. That nobody's taken to the clinic. And he's been this way for two weeks. He looks pitiful and you feel conflicted. You want to fix. Make things better and right. But you know that there has to be a sense of responsibility. You ask yourself if you're helping or hurting. You give money for the clinic, ask that he be taken in the morning, see the body language of someone who could care less, and climb back in your truck and drive away. It doesn't make sense, but you know you did the right thing.

You drive a few miles and see a crowd gathered on the side of the road in the distance. I've decided that a scene like this makes my heart stop. And today my heart stopped. You get closer and see the mangled motorbike lying in the middle of the road. And through the crowd of people you see a pair of white cloth shoed feet not moving. Thanking God that you can't see anything beyond that, but you hold out your hand and say aloud a prayer, "Jesus, Jesus, please be with that boy and don't let him be dead." And my stomach twists. And I take a deep breath. And we keep driving.

Within a few minutes, I'm at the orphanage, under the plum trees, baking with the girls. There is laughter, licking batter bowls and talk about the future. So much joy and contentment. I want to take a snapshot of every moment to carry home with me and pull out whenever I'm missing Liberia. Plums falling, dogs licking my butter covered toes, the charcoal burning in the coal pot that will bake our banana cakes, and just sharing life together.

Then I sit down with the director to talk about a missing child. Oh, my daughter Lucky. This home is not the same without her. My Liberia is not the same without her either. I've been praying for her for months, and praying in faith that I would come to Liberia and find her. And then there was that moment with the director when my heart dropped. When I realized that I won't be seeing Lucky while I'm here. And when my brain begins to comprehend that I might not ever find her. I hold it together, but tonight my tears fall. This is one of those hard moments, when you have to fully trust God and truly believe that He watches over each and every one of His children.

Tonight as I washed away the day's dirt, I was thinking about all of this. I asked God why things happen the way that they do. I asked God why He chose me to come here. Why Liberia? Why not somewhere safe, familiar, with my family, easy or comfortable? Why do I have to figure out how to operate in a place where things don't make sense, life is difficult, reality is harsh, faith is stretched, darkness breaks through, but Light overcomes?

And that's when God began to answer: I make sense. I am safe. I am with you. I chose you. I have equipped you. Delight in me, as I have delighted in you. I am the Living Water; your daily bread. I make all things new, and my mercies are new every morning. Joy comes in the morning. 

And I wash. And ask God for a clean heart and a clear mind. And I hold on to His promises.

I don't know why it's me, or why it's here. But I know that God's plans are the absolute best. And that's where I want to be--right in the middle of His good and perfect will.

And then it begins to make sense. That is why it is me. And that is why it is here.

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