The pain of staying and leaving

Sometimes I want to give up.

I want to pack a bag and fly back home to Minnesota. I want to hug my friends and sit in cute coffee shops and eat real pizza. I want to go to the store to buy a pair of jeans and know exactly how much they are going to cost and not have to argue with someone. I want to drive on the correct side of the road, and not worry about the overfilled mini buses who stop or pull out without notice. I want comfort. I want familiar.

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But then I look into the faces of my little treasure and I can’t help but think, could I ever actually leave? Could I give them up? Could I leave this life?

Really I am so in love with Tanzania. My heart is here. There are people and things I miss back in the states, but my heart can’t imagine leaving here.


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So what does this mean? Am I moving to Tanzania forever? Am I crazy?

I wish I had more answers, but I don’t. I just know for now this is home. These beautiful little Neema babies are my babies.


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It can be hard to wake up knowing each day will have pain. My heart breaks for over and over for the babies at Neema, the shoeless children playing in the street, the Mama’s struggling to feed their babies, the poverty and injustice right outside my door. More intimately, my heart breaks knowing how much love I have here, and how much love I have thousands of miles away in the states. Some days it feels like I am split in two. 


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Before I left the states I had cut some clippings from some magazines that I thought might be fun to use for something or other. I stumbled upon them yesterday and found this quote that I find most fitting for this season. I’ll leave you with that.


“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy, but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving… the pain of leaving can tear us apart.

Still if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking. “

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