This blog has become a kind of relationship. I’ve had fights with it (why won’t the $#%^ upload my photos!) and I’ve had moments of intimacy and connection reading the comments you’ve left for me and knowing that somewhere out there you care enough to read through a million paragraphs of my journey. It’s humbling really. As I write my final one from Africa, I feel a sense of nostalgia. But I don’t think I’ll stop writing in it. Because in many ways, the journey has just begun.
It isn’t easy to lay your soul out before the world’s eyes and meet the gaze you fear will find judgment. Maybe I wasn’t spiritual enough. Maybe I didn’t learn enough. Maybe my pictures didn’t have great explanations. J My God knows how old, but young as anything amazing Irish-British friend Seamus reminded me the other day of one of my favorite quotes: “To thine own self be true.” Often I find I am more worried about being true to the ideas people have of me, or the lofty expectations of myself I fear people have of me, that I sidle up to the danger of losing my essence. This is me. This is the way I see the world. It has evolved and changed and matured and at the same time remained the same in many ways. What I came here to find—the vision, the calling. I believe I found it. I didn’t preach to thousands and I didn’t build a house for someone. In many ways what I did is immeasurable and intangible. But I loved and I listened. And I learned what the people who matter to me want. I couldn’t promise them, but I promised myself. I’m coming back and next time God-willing I’ll do something that will blow their minds.
I’ve learned too that not everyone wants you to succeed. Whether for threat, or intimidation, for fear of not reaching their own goals, for control, or cynicism from a broken dream, there are those who resent the thing you were made to do. And it’s ok. Because once God has given you something, once he has ignited it in your heart, there is nothing they can do to take it away from you. He has already gone before and he has already given me possession of the land. The how’s the when’s the what’s are all just semantics.
I’ve learned that a lot of people want to join you when you have a dream and that is beautiful. That while we might go somewhere a lone we are never alone and we don’t have to be.
I’ve learned we can do anything we set our hearts and minds to.
I feel like I’d like to write a verse here that encapsulates my experience, or a quote that sums up my time, but I’m in an internet café and seriously down to my last shilling. Typical. Not that I could find the words anyway. I don’t feel like this is the end so I’m not going to cry and get over dramatic about it. Surprise. I’ve spent most of my final hours with the kids filming them and getting them to tell me messages so I can cry when I get back home. In some ways this journey ends where it began, with the same passions in my heart. So I guess that does remind me of a quote—it goes something like this: “When I cease from all my exploration and arrive to know the place for the first time.” -T. S. Eliot-
Or something like that. It’s not an exact science.
I go home to dream up ways of making a difference back here. The child mothers I interviewed last week really sparked something in me that I can’t let go of. Some things you see and you can turn your head but others you can’t. Just as you have been a part of this process of getting me here and seeing me through, you will be a part of the force that propels me forward in trying to meet the needs of my little Ugandan family and of these abducted girls. It was cute—as I was leaving the kid’s house last night they slipped a note in my purse that said they will miss me and pray for me. The fact that kids aged 10-18 will be praying for me just amazes me. And I know they will because when we prayed together before they went to sleep they would always pray for the woman who helps take care of them in the US.
I have four minutes left.
But also a whole lifetime.
So if I’m out of commission for the next week—don’t worry you can find me in bed with pizza, ice cream and season two of Grey’s Anatomy.
Don’t forget to do what God made you to do. It is the only thing.
Signing off from Uganda.