Last night, we came home from a church softball game, and as I stepped onto the back porch I stopped in my tracks. I looked around for a second, not really sure what I was looking for. But something about that moment seemed familiar. It was like de ja vous but not about me standing on the porch or the softball game.
It was something I smelled.
Someone must've been either having a bonfire or burning trash. That smell, along with the thick evening air did something to my mind. I've heard that smell and memories can be closely linked, and that's exactly what must've been going on at that moment because suddenly my mind was in Uganda.
And all within a fraction of a second I could see the streets of the city, lined with people trying to make a living selling fruits or furniture or minutes for your cell phone. And boda-bodas (motorcycles) were weaving in and out of cars on the road trying to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Kids giggling as they walk to school, vendors chatting, horns honking. I thought of dense bread for breakfast and sitting on the veranda writing in my journal, tucking in my mosquito net, and brushing my teeth with bottled water.
And it made me kind of sad. I mean I was excited thinking ahead. I'll be going there in 34 days! I was sad because I miss being in my "Uganda home" so much. But I was also sad because it was one of those moments that I realize that my "Uganda home" and "US home" can never meet. When I'm here I want to be there and when I'm there...well I still usually want to be there, but there's a part of me that still wants to be here where my family is. It's here that I feel safe and can eat American food, and not worry if what I'm doing will offend everyone around me.
And most of all, it's here where my heart doesn't have to hurt so bad...
Because honestly when you love these people and those sweet children like I do...it hurts. Because their hurts are real and present and right in front of me and I can't escape them because they're everywhere I turn. I still think about those hurts at home, but because it's not always there in front of me, it's easier to focus on something else when I feel overwhelmed by them.
But I don't want to forget them. I don't want to forget that so many people in this world don't live like I do. It's just sometimes it's easier to forget.
But God has called us to love the unloved and unloveable even when, and especially when, it hurts. Loveis what brought Christ to and through the pain of the cross. So how can I do any less?