The night sky trembled with distant light. The summer air thick and warm like crushed velvet
enveloped us. The clouds on the horizon flashed and fluttered with white lightning. While in deep contrast the panorama of distant stars and planets shone high in the spangled sky. It felt like we were witnessing an ancient argument, an angry clash of darkness and light, of obscurity and clarity.
That beautiful moment occurred during our "trip-cation" to Texas. We were with our dear friends, Aaron and Melissa Bequette, standing on their back deck in East Texas. We called the journey a "trip-cation" because it was a combo of trip and vacation. Sam and Megan felt calling it a vacation alone would give the impression it was effortless and leisurely. Which it was not. Hence the mash-up. We drove from York, PA to Dallas, TX with many stops along the way there and back. Steve mapped out our 3,000+ mile journey:
Driving through a large swath of the US allowed us to watch the landscape scroll by while being carried along smooth ribbons of roads. It was beautiful and oh so convenient. In Africa road trips are very different, though they too are beautiful, they are not convenient, not in the least. I am fatigued just thinking about writing about African roads... smooth ribbons they are not. Deeply pocked and cracked, the roads wind serpentine. They slow you down. It takes time. Traffic clogs, people dodge... rather they don't dodge. People casually walk alongside traffic with nary a glance to ensure personal safety. It is up to you, the driver, to watch out for them. It's more of the upside down life personified. Upside down at least to the foreigner.
So it's nearly time to pack up and say goodbye. It's transition time once again.
I will be a foreigner. A stranger in a strange land. It will be a majestic mess, an epic argument of darkness and light, of obscurity and clarity. It will be a grand panorama of joys and sorrows stretched across the days, weeks and months. And I feel unprepared. The water and power cuts, the spotty and slow internet connections, the heat, the traffic, the struggle to communicate... the heat, are a few of my least favorite things. The lack of reliable health care, the security issues and missing family and friends here in the states are also some least favs. We will be leaving our two college kids behind. We won't see them for nearly a year. So many feels.
Yet, there is something about Africa. It calls to you. The torrential down pour of rain pounding on tin roofs, the street food and the riotous blend of brightly colored African print fabrics, the symphonic sound of voices and screeching breaks and car horns blend together in a soup of sorts for the senses. Friendships made there are vibrant and deep, quickly joined together and sharply parted. Sown into my soul are these. With high cost comes high value. I ready myself to dive in once again.
I am taking a deep breath. Drawing in all the American-ness I can. A great gasping gulp before the slow release. "Joy and sorrow are this ocean. And in their every ebb and flow. Now the Lord a door has opened that all hell could never close. Here I'm tested and made worthy. Tossed about but lifted high. In the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God." ~ The Love of God by Rich Mullins