February 26, 2011
The thought of it was such a stunningly lovely one, even in its simplicity, that I smiled as I listened to her. And when she had finished the thought, I warned her, “Jill, my dear, I’m afraid I’m going to just have to steal your idea.” She kindly granted me permission to do so.
While walking one of our old routes, from when I had seen her last, just over two years ago, we were talking of our current struggles. What she had been saying was that any time a particular longing or hurt just felt like too much to bear, she would picture herself packaging up that pain and putting it into her “heaven box.” Knowing that life can be made up of so many things beyond us—things out of our control—it came as an assurance to Jill to rest in the knowledge that even if there will be no “solution,” or fulfillment, to a particular wish in this life, it will be fulfilled some day, when all is righted in the world . . . in our lives.
And this struck a beautiful chord in my own heart. For the loss of hope is something I cannot bear. But anticipation is something I am quite capable of—waiting, in expectation, is enough to sustain me through even the longest stretches of burden: those times when you just carry on in doing the work set before you in a determined, one-step-at-a-time sort of fashion,
So this morning, as I stood on the airstrip and hugged her goodbye [before yet another Zambian voyage], knowing that I may not see her again in the foreseeable future, I set that sadness aside and placed it into my own little “heaven box.”
This photo is one I snapped while we were on that walk. It seemed fitting.
February 21, 2011
As we enjoyed an afternoon bike ride yesterday afternoon, we chatted [we were not attempting a particularly strenuous ride :-)] Feeling the singular sense of ease that comes when just released from a period of hectic work and responsibility stress, we commented on the things that you don’t realize when in the midst of the stress: the places and people that you long for, for instance. So as we hit the top of a hill, I stopped, soaking up the happy feeling of bittersweet longing that the pastoral view gave me. And I commented on how much I missed beautiful countryside views, and that seeing this sight had only just now made me realize that I did . . .
February 13, 2011
I got to play coach this weekend, taking the girls on a bus trip for an away tournament. It was typically [considering this country's travel standards] exciting, with transport delays and schedule changes, so after the fact I was very grateful to have safely made it with all students still in-tact–and happy, to boot! Now I should emphasize the fact that I was only “playing” coach, as I certainly am no football coach: indeed my shining moment came instead once we had made it safely back to the dorm. We spent the evening celebrating with song and dance, in various local dialects: I have grown accustomed enough to many of them to be able to join in relatively easily now–if not with all the individual words, at least with harmonies and, of course, dance :-)
February 11, 2011
After dinner in the dorm, I was sitting with a fellow staff member in our sitting room area, watching the approaching rain clouds gather. We were actually not even talking, just sitting in silence [living in the dorm means full appreciation of the rare phenomenon known as silence], but I warned her anyway: “If I jump up suddenly, it’s because I can see the signs of a camera-necessary moment in the sky this evening.” Sure enough, shortly thereafter I made a dash for my camera . . . as you can see :-)
February 4, 2011
It was, in most respects, a very average sort of Cross Country match . . . location notwithstanding. The only signs that would betray our very non-Western status were the barefoot runners, the blazing sun and, perhaps, a few large insects to be found along the way. I had the rather exciting task of pulling numbers off runners as they crossed the finish line. I got a fair number of sweaty hugs in the process, and was relieved to come away without any other forms of bodily fluids :-)
After the younger students races, I spied this young [first place] finisher in this so-common position for youngsters here: perched on top of an ant hill. And it did seem to me to that she was basking quite perfectly in her post-race bliss!