It is a beautiful, quiet morning in Searcy, Arkansas. I am curled up in a comfy old chair listening to the sounds around me. I can hear the soft click of the keyboard as Travis works on the computer in the other room. The snow and ice of the week turned to rain this morning, and it is lightly pattering on the windows. I hear the soft whir of the heater as it clicks on, working hard to keep us warm.
Oliver is snuggled in bed for an early nap, and I can feel myself slowly settling into the quiet.
What a crazy few months. It is hard to believe that we are in the US right now. In a way it feels like we are in a dream: like I will wake up and be back in my Tanzanian home. Or was Tanzania the dream?
The rain has slowed, and a bird chirps into the break of rain drops. His chirping transports my mind to Tanzania as if he was answering my question. No, this is not a dream. And neither was Tanzania. How many times have the birds in Tanzania sung notes of comfort to my soul? How many times have they reminded me of beauty and grace, and called me to cast down my anxiety?
Deep breath. I sink deeper into my chair.
Tanzania. A world we know so well and are so far from. I know life is continuing on without us. When we’ve talked to our friends on the phone they tell us of the rains. I can picture the flooding. The puddles and mud that make walking on roads tricky. I remember the few leaks in our roof that we have tried to repair numerous times. Did I move everything away from that leak? I think so.
I can see the ocean. Reflecting the green of the stormy sky.
I can see the green grass and foliage that is now alive and thriving — having replaced the dry brush and dusty ground only a few months ago.
I can feel the hot breeze blowing through my ever-open kitchen window. And smell the salt of the ocean in the wind.
Oh, no, Tanzania is not a dream. It is a place that holds us captive. Our hearts will forever be intertwined with our many friends there. It is a place that holds so many of our memories: good and bad, laughter and tears. It is a place we hope to return to: to see our friends, to sit on our front steps, to swim in that salty sea.
Deep breath. I hear Oliver stirring, bringing my attention back to my current surroundings.
I glance out the window. The rain has stopped, and the tree outside is now full of chirping birds. Again reminding me not to worry.
As I stand from my cozy spot on the chair to go get my sleepy boy, one final thought:
May I always be present where I am, but may I never forget where I have been, and may I always be grateful for both.