Saturday, December 28, 2013

The ordinarily beautiful

I've been back in the states for almost a month and a half now... It's been a whirlwind of trying to rest, while enjoying and squeezing each moment with those I'm with. I love seeing my nephew light up and laugh endlessly at the silly faces I make. I've loved sitting quietly, playing cards with my grandma. I love the choices in the grocery store and the ridiculous amounts of baked goods that have come out of our oven.

It's been a much needed trip home to see my family but something I love the most is getting to invite people to see a glimpse of Uganda. I always laugh because when I'm there, there is nothing extraordinary about my simple life. But something grand happens when I share it with others, the ordinary begins to abound in beauty and wonder.

I'm always wondering what you imagine when I describe the work I do...
When I tell you that I work with HIV+ women, what do you see?

Can you see the radiating beauty of the simple smile that stretches across Plaxceda's dark and weathered face as she faithfully presumes her timely arrival? Can you hear them all shouting their local greeting with great joy in their bones when they find me every Sunday, waiting patiently for their coming? Can you hear the tenderness and forgiving laughter when as I apologize breathlessly for arriving late, yet again? ...I always forget how long that walk takes me... Do you hear the songs on their lips as they work and the chatter of a long week that needs catching up? Can you feel the weight of carrying families upon their broken and tired backs and the burden of providing for a fatherless society? Yet, I see such ease as they move, such fullness of joy and strong believing hearts.

I no longer have to close my eyes and wonder what to picture or where to put faces.

I see it all.
It settles in those deep places in my heart, which feels a little like that deep longing you get in your stomach when you're remembering both pain and beauty.
I've stopped straining to imagine what this kind of life would look like and I've started to simply step into it.

And I don't quite feel the touch of wonder and glory when I'm just dusting off tables, reminding them to wash their hands so I'll stop having to set aside countless 'brown' beads or in preparing their accounts or spending long hours in my little office. The dust and sweat doesn't seem to transform into gold and honey after a long day. It all feels rather ordinary and tiresome at times. But...

Things don’t have to be extraordinary to be beautiful.
Even the ordinary can be beautiful. 
-Wicker Park 

I'm living that ordinary and beautiful life.

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