I sit in this room, boxes still unpacked in the corner, walls faded and peeling begging to be decorated, floors not yet finished, windows bare with curtains not yet purchased. I look around me and take in this house only 2 weeks lived in. I look down and see before me a suitcase, 2 weeks in this house and already a suitcase.
It’s the packing that has forced me to unpack. The boxes that have been opened and emptied have only been done so in order to repack their contents into a case or a bag, ready to travel with me. I sigh and wonder when my life became this, always packing or unpacking, never just being, never simply staying.
I had just told someone a few days previously how wonderful it had been to be settled in one place for so long without traveling. She had laughed saying that it had been no time at all, I protested and together we counted time. Eight weeks I’ve been here, and it feels like years. She points out that in those eight weeks I have been away for 2 weekends and moved house. I can’t help but laugh along with her – I see the joke, that 2 months including two weekend trips and a house move feels like a long settled time to me.
I look back down at my suitcase and I feel strangely at home with my things packed in a case, with my car full of petrol ready for the drive, with my house packed up ready for weeks of being empty. I think about the weeks ahead, the weeks of living from a suitcase, of staying in countless other’s homes, of the miles of road ahead of me, of all the new faces, the hellos, the fresh places. I think about the not stopping for long enough to find my bearings and I feel peaceful, I feel at home, I feel settled.
I smile to myself. The prospect of being unsettled leaves me feeling settled and I see the paradox. I think it must be the missionary kid inside me that lets me feel so comfortable in this lifestyle. Its the MK roots that I have allowed to bear fruit into my adulthood, it’s the life that was thrust upon me as a child that I chose to continue as an adult, that has led to this crazy paradox.
I zip up the case and stand carrying it downstairs. I am peaceful and there is a smile of content on my face, and yet as I place the case by the door there is something else too. There is that small piece of my heart that aching, screaming out to be heard, it’s wondering what it would be like to stay, and it’s yearning to find out, to experience it. That small part that will never let go, that will always make the leaving bitter-sweet, the traveling fun and yet hard, the constant packing and unpacking satisfying and yet painful.
I give thanks, because it is that piece of my heart, that pain, that yelling out, that reminds me of all I have. It speaks of the irreplaceable friendships, the close community, the love, the sowing, the reaping, the memories. The difficulty in driving away simply tells the story of the wonderful gifts God has given me where I am. A song of praise come from my lips going out to the one who always travels with me.
I sit on the bathroom floor head against the wall too weak to keep it up. My body drenched in sweat, vomit and diarrhea mixed in the toilet bowl next to me. I ring my teammate, the one who’s a nurse. I hear her voice at the end and through the tears I ask her to help. She comes over and gets me into bed. The doctor comes, they give me tablets and drinks, and my nurse-friend stays with me.
I groan in pain and slip in and out of sleep. Another friend comes by to stay with me that night, sleeping in a bed next to mine. I scream with agony most of the night, I try to get up for the bathroom and faint. It takes me three attempts to walk the 50 yards. I make it through the night, sleeping at some point. I know because she told me my silence worried her.
I awake still drenched in sweat, this morning brings no change, vomit and diarrhea are still taking over my life, and nothing will stay inside me. I lay there whimpering and groaning. Pain and fear mixed together, exhaustion not allowing real speech or expression. My nurse-friend comes back, the doctor comes too. They agree I need an IV, the doctor leaves and returns shortly with the bags full of liquid in one arm, the other hand carrying hammer and nails. They hammer in a nail to the wall above my bed and she hangs the IV bag on it. The nurse gets a needle out and pulls at my arm, I’m too weak to even care. She sleeps in the cannula with ease, I’m impressed at her skills and give her a feint smile. The doctor leaves. She sits and holds my hand as we watch fluid drip into my body. I’m too weak to say anything, and my body is ravaged with pain, but I am thankful she is there. The one who cares without being intrusive, the one who cares always with a smile, the one who brings joy into horrible situations, the one who shows me Christ. I am glad she is the one sitting with me.
One week later I will be back.
Only it’s been 2 years now, and my things lie stacked in boxes, collecting dust, and I wonder how that one week ever became 2 years.
I long to go home, to wipe away the dust, to discover forgotten treasures in those boxes. The nurse has long departed, leaving to start a new journey of marriage. The doctor no longer walks those streets. The one who slept next to me night after night, now sleeps alone on the other side of the world. They have all gone, but my heart remains, and my God remains.
He is there, and He has taken my heart there and kept it there.
Today, it rests on today. On those few moments spent in hospital. What will that man who calls himself a doctor but who tries to play God in my life say? Will he speak the words I long to hear “Medical Clearance” or will he deny me?
I live in peace, I walk in confidence, because I know a truth he does not.
He is not God.
God is my father, my saviour, my love, the author of my story.
He is not God, but I know who is, and I know that God is control.
I give thanks.
I rest peacefully.
Change is exciting. An intrinsic part of my life.
Big changes happening regularly.
They ask me what is new in my life and they expect a big answer.
It’s exciting, planning, preparing, experiencing the new.
Change is wearying. The way it constantly requires of you to give out.The physical effort, the emotional upheaval.
The letting go of one thing and grasping out for another.
It’s tiring, planning, preparing, saying goodbye to the familiar.
I’ve experienced 6 weeks of boring bliss.
6 weeks of here.
6 weeks of being settled.
6 weeks of being stuck.
6 weeks of no change.
It’s been wonderful, it’s been soothing, it’s been comforting.
But now, now it starts again.
Moving house, touring, traveling, reuniting, moving across the world.
It’s running at me fast and I can’t seem to slow it.
Change is an animal chasing me until it catches it’s prey and ravages my being.
It’s coming and I can’t tame it.
I don’t know how I feel about change.