I’m going to take a brief detour from party pictures and vacation stories to veer into honest reflection; bear with me, it’ll be brief: Tuesday evening, I was sitting in Fiesta Pizza in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, which is Katie’s old stomping grounds. We were talking about the future, but not the immediate future. Rather, we were talking about POST-Africa plans. Will Africa be 3.5 years, or will it be 20 years? Where will we go when we return? What will we do? Will we rent? Will we buy? Will we go back to Columbia? Will we move to Philadelphia? Chicago? San Diego? Wherever there’s a good job waiting? Will we have a kid? So many questions that we simply cannot begin to answer. We have 3.5 years in Tanzania ahead of us. So much can change in the next few years, it’s silly to even try to make plans. It occurred to me that for the first time, I really don’t have a long-term goal. Yes, obviously, we have the HUGE adventure of years in Africa ahead of us, but after that? Who knows? I really have no clue what the future will hold and it feels GREAT.
There is a lightness of spirit that I haven’t felt in years, and I realized it is because this urge, this passion, this obsession with getting to Africa is gone. We’re not there yet, but barring a major catastrophe, we’ve made it. For almost the last decade, we’ve been working toward this goal, and this drive has been all the more intense due to the spiritual nature of the pursuit; we’ve felt called to do this work from our Christian beliefs, so to contemplate NOT being able to do was a very intense feeling of frustration. All my thoughts and plans for the last many years have been run through the filter of “How will this affect our plans to get to Africa?” Anything that could even be remotely construed as an obstacle for getting to Africa could send me into a tail spin. And while this single-minded vision and drive has obviously paid off- we’re moving to Africa to answer the call!- I am realizing just how much of a psychological burden it has been.
So I have no idea what is really waiting for me in Africa. I have a lot to learn, and there will be challenges, and stress, and failures, but there will also be joys, and successes, and life-changing moments that I will remember for all my days. And after that? I don’t know. And that is wonderful.