Goodbye.

Kabul_WMMy skin is worn out from this dry, dusty, cold, war-town land. The skin on my face is chapped, my cheeks cracked, skin splitting open, and red.

I sit on the hard plastic, half-broken, chair, waiting, waiting, waiting, for them to call my flight to board. People crowded all around. My gaze fixed on one spot, desperately taking breaths, trying to regain control.

I can’t try any longer, I can’t keep control. The tears welling in my eyes spill over. They roll down my cheeks, faster and faster they come. The anger swells in me, and my whole body shakes those tears from my eyes. They roll on to my cracked, open, cheeks and they sting deep. It only causes the tears to come all the more. I can’t even cry without pain thanks to this place.

I brush the tears aside enough to be able to see to reach for my phone. I open it and begin hurriedly typing a message to my friend:

“I hate this freaking country. I can’t wait to leave!”
Beep, beep. A reply
“What’s happened? No one hates this country more than I do!”
My fingers quickly tap out a response.
“It’s so stupid, nothing’s ever going to change. I’m so glad I’m getting out!”

The phone starts ringing in my hand, I look down, it’s a different friend. I try to steady my voice.

– “Hello?”
– “Hey! I just rang to say goodbye and see how you were feeling with leaving.”

I can’t contain it, I sob down the phone, trying desperately to catch my breath enough to say goodbye. But I can’t. I just sit there, crying. Anger, frustration, hurt, continuing to rise inside me.

– “Are you ok? Where are you?”
– “I’m leaving, and I couldn’t be happier, this place is a nightmare.”
– “oookkkkk… what’s going on? What’s happened?”

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So I take some deep breaths, I calm myself, and I begin to tell the story. I recount it all, moment by moment, to her:

How my driver was late, how he ran out of gas, how they closed the roads, and how I was stressed before we even reached the airport road.
Then I tell her of the extra checks, the one where they thoroughly pat down your body with their hands, and then open your cases, empty them, and then leave you to put them back together; all the while telling you to hurry up.
I tell her how weary and on edge I was by the time we reached the airport gates.
I continue telling her how my driver decided to try to skip a search, how the police dragged me out of the car and screamed in my face. How they shouted at my driver, pulled him for the vehicle and beat him with their guns whilst I stood and watched. How I pleaded with him to not argue back, how I thought he was going to die in front of me.
I tell her of the continued increase in checks, the policemen and soldiers who shoved, and pushed, and pulled, and touched me, who kept screaming and shouting at me. How they shut my hand in a door and never once checked if I was ok.
I tell her how they refused to let me go to the bathroom, and how they ran off with my passport.
I tell her how they dropped my laptop on the floor.
I tell her it all, moment by moment.

Airports here are horrible at the best of times, today was even worse than normal. I let the tears spill over freely once more. She hears me from the other end of the phone.

-“I’m sorry Em, that sounds terrible. Don’t give up hope though, don’t remember just these hours, remember the years as a whole.”

I know she’s right. You mustn’t judge a book by its cover, and certainly not by its back cover. I know in the morning I’ll feel differently. In the morning I’ll love this place once more, I’ll long to be back, I’ll hold hope and faith for it; against all the odds.

She speaks again: “Remember the kindness in there too, magnify the light. Those women who cared, remember them.”

I think back, she’s right, I must remember them. The ladies in their cold little metal container check-point. The ladies who saw me crying as they began to search me, who made me sit, who insisted I drink tea with them. Who asked my story, and after listening, asked me to come back. The ladies who cared enough to pour me tea and listen. It is them I must remember.

They call my flight.

-“Thanks, I’ve got to go, they’re going to board my flight. I’ll remember. Love you, see you again, take care.”
-“Love you Em, fly safe.”

War_Copters_WMI find my seat on the plane and stare out of the window, I let my thoughts calm as I look out over the war-planes, helicopters, tanks, armed soldiers, that fill my view. I find myself praying:
“God, have mercy on them. They can’t help it, they just don’t know you, they don’t know your love, haven’t tasted your forgiveness. Have mercy on them, don’t judge them harshly. Give them a chance to be saved too.”

Arial_WMWe take off and I continue to stare out the window, over the land, over the nation, over the people. I see it growing smaller as we rise above it.

“Goodbye”

I whisper.

“Goodbye, until next time.”

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Derek Shepherd Taught Me A Lesson

I’m  a Grey’s Anatomy fan. Until recently I had only seen random episodes here and there. Then I decided to start watching it from the start, and, oh my, I got totally sucked in. I love the drama, and the medical world, and the love stories, and the deeper lessons flowing through. It makes me cry regularly, and everyone knows that I’m a sucker for shows that make me cry!

I also take far too much meaning from films and TV shows. I have been known to take a notepad to the cinema so I can write down great quotes, or meaningful moments. I often scribble down lessons from TV shows. I know, it’s so not cool. I need to get some help right? Well, until then, bare with me a little ok?

I was watching a season two episode of Grey’s Anatomy recently and there’s this scene at the end of the episode between Addison and Derek. (For those of you who don’t know, they are married, and she’s recently come back to him having had an affair with his friend. He’s trying hard to make it work and forgive her but struggling.)
In the episode Derek has been having this slow revelation that maybe he had a part to play too. No, he didn’t do the cheating, he didn’t start an affair, but he had some blame too. He walks in to their home at the end of the day and sits at the foot of the bed she’s sitting on and they have the following conversation:

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Derek: I was indifferent […] I was indifferent towards you.
Addison: Yes
Derek: I was absent
Addison: Yes
Derek: I’m partly to blame for what has happened to our marriage
Addison: Yeah
Derek: I’m sorry, I’m working on it. Ok?
Addison: Ok.

 

It was a big moment for Addison and Derek. It struck me too, as though that were God and I having that conversation, with me sitting at his feet, confessing my shortcomings.

How often do I need to have that conversation with God? Our relationship seems to be less than great, and I need to come and confess. I’ve been indifferent, I’ve been absent, I’m to blame, and I’m sorry, I’m working on it.

I love Addison’s reaction. No shouting, no rubbing salt in the wound, no gloating; just simple acceptance. Acknowledgement that yes, he fell short, acknowledging his humble apology, and acceptance of his repentance and desire to change.

Isn’t that how God accepts us? Gently, simply. Yes, we have missed the mark, yes we have caused our relationship to struggle, but it’s ok, he knows we’re sorry, he knows we’re working on it. He wants to work along side us.

Disclaimer: I realize this analogy falls apart at the point that we know Addison went and committed adultery, she is equally to blame. God is not to blame for our distant relationship, nothing He has done has caused us to be separated.


Five Minute Friday : Again

It’s time for FMF. Why don’t you join us? Click the button for more details.

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This weeks Topic is…

AGAIN

GO

I stand poised, feet in fourth position, legs apart, front knee slightly bent. My arms are up, my head is turned, eyes focused intently on one spot. I steady my breathing, picture myself turning in my head. Suddenly I pull my front leg up underneath me to balance on the top of my block, the other bends up to meet it at its knee and I spin, pirouetting freely. I spin twice round then loose my balance, placing my feet flat on the ground to steady myself.

“Again!”

She shouts. She pushes me to do better, to try harder, to believe it can be done. She is the madame, and so as frustrated as I am, I position myself again, and breathe slowly. I start over. I try again.

I do the double perfectly,the triple eludes me though. I never quite make it. So I face her shouts over and over. “Again!” We’ll keep trying, I’ll keep spinning in front of this mirror, until I achieve it. I’ll learn not to fall before the end.

pirouette

I wonder how many times in life I end up doing a double pirouette when it’s a triple that’s required of me.
How many times do I miss the mark, fall short?

I need His grace and His mercy new every morning. Again.
I thank Him for his mercy. Again.I thank Him for his forgiveness. Again.

I position myself,
breathe in,
and start over,
Again.

STOP