Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday afternoon daydreams, shattered hearts, and new chapters.

As she sat at the table furiously penciling out how to make this paycheck cover everything, her mind wandered. She was transformed into a street in the middle of Kenya. A crowded, dirty street. There was a huge garbage dump there. And that little boy was digging through it. Looking for what, she didn't know. Food probably. Hoping to find something to sell, maybe. But something. The friend she was with seemed to know the boy. He shouted out a greeting in Swahili and before long the boy was walking and talking alongside them. She marvelled at his young age. It was apparent that the child had been living on these streets. He was filthy. No shoes. Smelly. Too skinny. And higher than a kite. It was the glue. The kids who tried to survive on the streets usually ended up huffing it to subside hunger and numb the hopelessness and fear they were feeling.
The whole concept crushed her. She just wanted to wrap them in her arms, tell them their creator is crazy about them, and let them play as kids should. As they walked the streets chatting with other kids, some joined them and some refused. They all had the same problems: Running away from home or told to leave and having nowhere and nobody in which to find safety. A few of the kids agreed to walk away from the streets and come back to the boy's home for rehabilitation and reintegration. But she wondered, would it work? Would it stick? And the ones that came only to run away would break the hearts of the missionaries she worked for. Hundreds of thoughts were flying through her head and she was struck by the harshness of the work that her friends did day in and day out. 

Her mind then flashed to Texas and the strange time she had there. Living as a "missionary" in the midst of a wealthy southern town. Taking buses everywhere and experiencing for the first time how difficult it can be to live without a car. Trying to offer hope to the thousands of homeless but seeing little improvement. Working to end human trafficking in brothels. Educating the church. Trying to help the girls. Being chased by pimps. Understanding more than she wanted to about this dark underground world. And seeing just how much evil and damage a person can cause. 

How did she go from there to South Africa, where kids live a life of tough experiences and dangers? Rape statistics at an alarming high. Parents often abandoning their children. Segregation causing deep economical and emotional wounds. And her friends live and work here every day. She was there just long enough for it to feel normal before being ripped away and sent home. And that was enough to break her heart for the country and her friends that struggled to make a difference in it. 

And her mind wandered back to the table she sat at. And the budget. These memories seemed so removed from the worries before her. Like a distant dream that almost seemed to be scenes in a movie rather than real life. After all of that, how is she here? No money. Not able to even afford renting a place to live. Working a "normal" job again. Trying to make ends meet while desperately longing to be making a bigger difference in the world. Starting school all over again, sure of what she's working towards but not sure how to handle living while she does? The most simple, mundane season she's had in decades is suddenly the most painful, most difficult. Because she no longer fits into the box she's found herself back in. She no longer wants to work in a job many are content in for years. She's seen too much and can't forget it. The heart she left with when she flew across the world got shattered along the way and the pieces are scattered in the soil of Kisumu. The concrete of old brothels in Houston. And the bush of South Africa. 

Tomorrow she will turn the page to the next section of her story.  A very different and less colorful section: America. College. Studying. Broke. Not sure where and how to live. And trying to figure out how this new person she's become will do in this environment. She feels like she doesn't have much to show for the last 4 years: Debt. A very old car. No home and no possesions. But the one thing she does have has come to mean more than it ever did before. She has hope and absolutely nothing can take that away from her. 
She an