BY DAWN LAWRENCE
I spent a little over a year in Zambia volunteering at Kwathu Children’s Home. It was one of the best years of my life; I learned how to love more deeply than I ever had (before I got married), and much more about the sacrificial heart of Jesus Christ. I got to help kids with homework, become a friend to them, pray with them; I helped keep things rolling with a friend while the Directors of the home were out of the country; everyone I was close to became family.
The sea of red dirt and the blazing sun–they stick themselves against my chest; quick to cling but forever to let go. Children’s feet kick up dirt as they run and jump and play; I can still hear the laughter and the shouting, resounding through me as if I were there. I feel alive. When I think of all that I encountered and the heart that I was given there, I awaken.
It’s a different me, one I often forget about even though that far-away land is so near to me. Those waves of thought crash against me every hour. I cannot shake it. I cannot rid myself of a place I called home, a place I would do almost anything to go back to.
Daily I struggle to forget and let go, to reconcile that my husband and I will stay in the States. After I experienced life in Zambia–no matter how challenging, tiresome, different it was–the joy and reward of pouring out life is what I recall above all else. I want to be there. I find myself wondering what it would look like to really build a life there; house, family, and all the in between.
I feel haunted by it. I am enthralled and captivated by what I had there, and what I would still have upon returning. But I cannot have that now. I want to shake it off, to get it out of my head and my heart; not because I don’t love it, but because the heartache becomes overwhelming.
I’m not supposed to forget. I’m supposed to remember, to let the dreams stay alive. The longing and yearning that I feel for Zambia is not supposed to die. Christ wants to use my desire for Zambia; I have to continually remind myself of that. No matter how many difficult days I face, feeling like I shouldn’t have hope in being there again one day, I can never bring myself to do away with it all.
What are the things that you cannot forget? Who are the people you’ve met and what are the places you’ve been that you cannot shake, cannot dare to do away with? Don’t let go of the dreams tied to those things. Believe in the good of those things, believe in waiting for fruit to come.