words still fail me

So many people have asked me about my trip & I’ve said things like “it was awesome/great/amazing”… The truth is, that all of these words fall short. They all seem so shallow.

Yea, my trip was amazing. It was awesome. It was great. It truly was all of those things, but leaving it there feels like I’m doing a disservice to the trip, the experience and the whole entire journey. Leaving it at that, even if it’s just for myself, seems inauthentic.

journalI’m sitting here in the quiet moments of this morning reflecting. Trying to process, little by little, what this trip has meant to me. What that experience has given me, and still, words fail me. I feel like the trip broke me. It broke me of any preconceived ideas I had about my own life and my own journey in this world. It broke me of feeling like I had my ish together and had this thing called life figured out. It broke me for a people who have so little, yet have so much.

Y’know what it also did for me? It showed me hope. So much hope. Hope in the places I would least likely expect to find it. Hope in the slums, for a future for those kiddos. A sweet baby, born into a life that no baby deserves, yet her future still has hope. Her life still has meaning, I believe that she will still do great things. I am choosing to believe that someday, somehow I will return and I will hold her again and I will see that hope come full circle, just like it did for her sister.

I saw community. Real. True. Community. Y’know what matters to the people we encountered? Other people. Their family, their tribe, their community. That’s what matters more than anything. They are the ones who have it figured out.

They have so little, yet they have so much. We came to give and to serve and to teach, yet they gave, served and taught us more than we could ever have imagined. Cliche, I know, but it’s true.

I have always felt called to Africa, a tiny little whisper in my heart… I never knew that there would ever present an opportunity for me to actually go there. To actually step on that red dirt and experience it for myself. I never really knew how or when that would happen and now, now that I’ve been and I’m home, I’m totally smitten by the country and its people.

The way of life there, it’s so unique and it’s so unlike anything I’ve ever known. The roads, well, they’re a little crazy, let’s be real… And yes, its not all rainbows and unicorns, the country has its problems too, but the people. I cannot get the people out of my head.

Smiles that crossed any language barrier. The sounds of laughter that will echo throughout my heart forever and will always bring a smile to my own face. The beautiful voices at the academy and the children, so content to just take your hand and walk with you for a while.

I’m not sure when or how long it will take to find the words. Maybe never. Maybe my husband will have to listen to broken pieces of the story as they come to mind and I will try and explain why things are funny and it won’t really come across, or I will try and explain the picture of something & fail miserably, because some things just can’t be explained, they have to be experienced by the heart.

I will just have to bring him and the girls there, so they can fully understand and experience for themselves the Pearl of Africa, the breathtaking landscapes and the people who are simply wonderful and so full of life and beauty like I’ve never seen before.

About Mary

a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a photographer, a traveler, a reader, a dancer, an oil enthusiast, a lover of life!