At this very moment, I’m missing Africa. I miss the feeling of being under a massive sky. Of the distant and constant sounds of busy streets and the hubbub of the market place. I even miss the sound of the street corner boom boxes and the rhythmic chanting that filled the air several times a day. Believe it or not, I miss the faint smell of burning trash mixes with pungent spices that permeate the atmosphere. I miss the dusty roadsides that are spotted with circular grass huts and domed haystacks.
Mostly, I miss the people of Ethiopia. Their smiles and quick laughter. I love how a simple wave can cause their serious faces to burst into toothy grins.
I miss the eerie stillness of the dawn as the smoke and fog settle into the valley and the Acacia trees silhouette themselves against the magenta skies.
I miss the constant stream of children, their dusty feet scurrying after us every where we went… curious stares and shy giggles as we smile and wave.
I don’t know how to reconcile this duel longing – wanting to be somewhere that delights your heart so… simultaneously longing to be where you are… indulging in the relationships and community around you. Perhaps the trick is learning to live in the now and the not yet. Perhaps the answer is not in the reconciling, but in the enduring.
Perhaps that’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 5 “… while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal would be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”