I’m posting this from a hotel near Entebbe airport. I board a plane at midnight tonight (Uganda time), and we’ll fly through the night. I have long layovers in both Brussels and Chicago, but somewhere at the end of the next 36 hours, I’ll be loving on my family in an Oklahoma airport. I could absolutely eat them all up with a spoon.
Our trip ended on such an amazing note! I can’t wait to tell you about it when time allows. I actually have so many more stories and pictures to share, when I’m back to the land of high-speed internet.
I’m about to go through “re-entry”. That’s what people in the field of child advocacy work call the days immediately following a trip of this magnitude, when you leave a scene of extreme poverty and go back to your comfortable world.
And I’ll tell you, this is one of the things I’ve dreaded the most.
I’m not sure how I’m going to communicate to my family the depth of what I’ve seen. Pictures and stories will never fully do it justice. Will I draw too far in to my own thoughts? Will I feel strangely resentful that they couldn’t see what I saw?
I’m also not sure how to shake the “survivor’s guilt”. And I know, it’s normal, but I’m overwhelmed at the thought of stepping back into my world, knowing the kind of conditions in which so much of the world lives. This afternoon I noticed how badly my eyebrows need plucking, and I shouted inside my own head, “HOW CAN I THINK OF EYEBROW PLUCKING WHEN THERE ARE CHILDREN STARVING IN UGANDA?” I’m telling you, my brain and heart have some work to do, to sort all this out.
I know all these thoughts are normal—we had a de-briefing last night, and every member of our team is feeling the same thing. The Compassion staff gave us some specific ideas about navigating the coming days and weeks. Shaun, who has taken several of these trips, spoke with us about how times like this shape your definition of “enough”, and I already feel things shifting dramatically in my heart.
I do not believe God is calling me to run home and sell everything I own, moving my family to a shack so we can sponsor 382 Compassion kids. But I know, without a doubt, He’s calling me to slow down and listen. I’ll listen to the world around me, a world that was becoming a little too cluttered with the noise of 21st century America. I’ll listen to my family, the people I love most in the world—I know I will love them better now that my heart has ached so badly. And I will most definitely be finding room in my heart–and budget–for more of these sweet kids.
I’ll blunder my way through the next few days and weeks, and I’ll laugh and write posts about soccer practice and (oh great day) I will run with abandon toward a Sonic Diet Coke.
But I’ll do it with a little piece of my heart back here in Uganda.