Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Transition & the Emotional Roller Coaster it Brings

Ever have those moments when you are feeling so low, and while you keep telling yourself to just snap out of it, you can't? That was yesterday afternoon. I had a conversation with someone that was strained and even though the conversation ended cordially, I felt completely misunderstood and misrepresented.

That's the way I arrived at church last night. I wanted to just forget about the conversation and sing. But everything in the songs just made me realize how hurt I was and how there was no way to fix it myself. In every song I literally cried out to God to fix it, but I couldn't see how he would be able to do it. Even though I couldn't repair the situation and I couldn't see a good outcome eventually I stopped crying and pulled myself together to listen to the sermon. But I wasn't feeling like anything was resolved.

The preaching pastor for this weekend was the missions pastor at Bethlehem until a few months ago. He and the international student class are about to start a church plant. Although I usually enjoy his preaching, I didn't expect to hear anything relevant to my situation. But in his preaching about the church being multi-ethnic he talked about how we are the family of God to one another. And in a sense, though he didn't say this, these internationals sort of need each other because they are away from other family. He did say that we are all in the family of God.

I realized in that moment that part of the effect of that earlier disconcerting conversation was that I felt so alone in the process; no one to turn to that understands my side and would defend me. And somehow being single makes you less credible, or so it seems. Just hearing and remembering that we are the family of God helped me to feel less alone.

And then after the service, I was able to connect with someone who is able to help me sort out the misunderstanding. Thank you, Lord. It really is totally His work to bring me from the despair I felt so acutely at 5 PM to the joy and lightness I felt at 7 PM. He truly is a good God!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Little Piece of Me Back

I think I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. For sure I'm still in transition, but today I had an experience that told me I may actually be returning to normal. I was on campus to study all afternoon and into the evening. At about 5:30 I wondered up to the commuter lounge where I'd left my “lunch” in the fridge. After a few minutes two ladies came in working on a text together. One was reading aloud while the other made coffee. Tomorrow is the last day of finals for regular day students. We exchanged niceties and they carried on with their work and I with my supper.

As I was leaving I decided to test my cultural guessing abilities. (I think I'm rather good at it when it comes to Africans. Though, I made a mistake earlier on campus today mistaking a tall and very dark man dressed in a tie dye outfit for a Sudanese when he was actually Ethiopian.) When I got up to go, I about how their topic of discussion seemed interesting but I had to get back to the library. Though I could her no accent I thought the one gal was Ethiopian based on her features. I asked her name and it sounded Ethiopian, so I offered, “Are you from Ethiopia?”

“Yes! How did you know?” I explained that I had lived in East Africa and our bond with cemented. She pointed in the direction of her office and told me to come sometime and see her. I smiled as I left thinking of the prospect of a new African friend.

But the real joy of the story is that I felt that I was totally uninhibited, like I used to feel. I felt like myself, not like I'm on hold and I need to figure out how to navigate through this thing called life back in America. I was so happy that to finally feel like it was me inside again, and not some stranger I'm getting used to being.

Thank you, God, for a little piece of normalcy for a change.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Winds of Change

I started this year of blogging with a bang! But unfortunately I have not keep up very well. It's not that life isn't full of interesting adventures. And I sincerely hope that being in a communications degree will help me blog more in the future. But for now, I still have a limping long computer, a ton of homework and some more transition ahead.

I will be moving back into my home on 12th Avenue as of June 1st. As of now I don't have any housemates lined up. I will need one or two but not before July 1st. I am looking forward to a little bit of a personal retreat at home. I've been in transition so incredibly long that I am really looking forward to settling in some ways. This does not mean being a hermit for me. On the contrary, being settled means entertaining and having a base to flourish from. Perhaps, I'll even have to plan a big house warming for the middle of summer.

When it comes to housemates I am hoping and praying for some real community. I would like to live with a couple of gals who care about living together in harmony. (I've lived communally long enough to know that there are always a few bumps along the way no matter how great the housemates are.) I would like to live as adults in the 'hood. And I hope to have the energy to be a little more neighborly that I've been.

Thanks for sticking it out with me here and through the transitions. Being settled doesn't mean my heart isn't still in East Africa. But for me, being able to minister in any kind of way means I have somewhere to start from that feels like it's my space, it's home.