I cried last night. I did. I knew it would be hard to watch Dad leave for Africa, but I did a good job of not letting myself get too upset…until last night. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know just how hard.
At church on Sunday before he left, people kept asking me if I was going with him, and a couple people told me to have a good trip. “I’m not going this time,” I had to tell them.
I always go with Dad. I love travelling with him. It just feels right when we travel together. But this time he’s going, and I’m staying. It feels strange, and I don’t think I like it. I got to talk to him on Skype last night, and it was so strange because I’ve never been on the home end of the conversation before. Usually I’m on the away end, talking about all that’s happening on the other side of the world. But this time I just got to listen. Which I love, don’t get me wrong–but it just felt odd.
I realised something last night after our conversation: I’m being selfish. That’s what it is. I can call it whatever I want, but it boils down to selfishness. I want to be in Africa, I want it right now, I want to travel, I want to go and do. I want this and I want that and I’m not going to be happy until I get what I want–in this case, Africa.
So I’m going to stop it. I’m going to stop being selfish and start viewing this as a learning experience–learning to stay. If God wanted me to be in Africa right now, then he would have made it happen. But this time, God wanted me to stay at home.
And I can use this time of staying to improve my character and my relationship with God, so that next time he tells me to go, I’ll be even more effective.
It’s staying and going. Not one or the other. It’s finding a balance. It’s doing what God wants me to do, and being where he wants me to be, no matter what hemisphere it’s in, or how long it took me to get there.
But that doesn’t make me miss Africa any less. I miss my kids, their voices, their sticky fingers, their big brown eyes. I miss the animals, the plants, the roads, and the red dust. I miss the mosquito nets and the jet lag. I miss everything.
I’ll get to be there soon…but not soon enough.
I miss Dad.
I have the travel bug.
I need to learn to stay. I have the “go” part down, but the “stay” part doesn’t come quite so easily.
It’s okay for me to miss Africa. It’s okay for me to want to be there. What’s not okay is focusing so much on “going” that I miss what God is doing in me and through me right here at home.