Changes, Changes

I choked back the sobs, trying not to make a scene. I clutched my capulana tightly in both fists as I felt tears rising behind my closed eyelids. 'Don't cry, don't cry. Do not cry'. I repeated that mantra over and over in my mind. It wasn't working. I knew that any minute I would start sobbing, and once I start the crying process I can't exactly turn off the waterworks. Thankfully, someone took the microphone and started talking. That gave me something to focus on. By exerting every ounce of my willpower, I was able to convince my emotions to hold off for awhile. Whew! Saved!

I don't consider myself a very emotional person. I don't cry often, I don't even get upset that frequently. But because some unknown Mozambican (I never even saw enough of them to know whether they were male or female) had laid their hand on my back and prayed over me for a few seconds, I narrowly escaped making a big sob scene in the middle of church. It wasn't until several minutes later that I realized I had also just been healed of a sickness that had been bothering me for about a week.

I still do not know why that prayer affected me so much. I wish I could know who prayed it and what they said. I simply know that, after two months of pouring myself out spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I finally felt another person intentionally pouring into me. I felt peace. I felt love. I felt God's power flowing through the hand resting on my shoulder. I was suddenly filled. And I started crying about it. Strange response, I know, but that's what happened.

Africa has made me rather an emotional wreck. Or perhaps it has just taught me that 'not all tears are an evil'*. Maybe emotions don't have to be squelched under an unruffled exterior. Not that I don't continue to do more than my fair share of squelching. I am still unable to convince myself that emotion does not necessarily equal weakness, but at least I'm beginning to see that my viewpoint could use some tweaking.

Changes, changes!

I wonder what it will be like when I get back to America. Will people expect me to be the 'same old Janie'? That is who I'll be on the outside, besides a tan and slightly longer hair, but what about on the inside? Subtle changes have taken place in my heart, mindset, and soul. Changes that are always surprising me. Changes that make me stop and think, "whoa! Did I just say that?" and make me ponder some rather uncomfortable questions. Will home ever really be home for me again? Will I be able to go back to the old life and routines? Can I ever be content with my little bubble of uselessness again? Would I even want things to go back to the way they were?

Here in Africa, I have felt belonging. I have felt purpose. I have been convinced that I really was born for a special reason. There are so many things I don't know. So many things that a mere two months haven't allowed me to experience. So many things I don't understand. So many decisions that are unclear. But one thing is clear to me: life will never be the same...and I have decided that I'm not sorry.

*This is a quote I stole from good old Gandalf the Grey.