Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 10-An Accomplishment!

Okay, this is honest. And open. Even for me. And I'm feeling a little venerable and exposed. But still really wanting to share. Please don't judge...

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I feel like I should have something earth-shattering to tell you on my tenth day of blogging/journaling about the adjustment that I felt in coming back to Zambia this year. But I really don't. I do know that today, my self-proclaimed day of being "fully adjusted", I had a harder day than many of the past ten. It wasn't because of bugs or water shortages, but rather due to simple "job stress" that tends to occur when you take on more than you're sure you can complete effectively. Does it sound silly and far-fetched to you that someone who is living in a foreign country and ministering the Gospel as a career has job stress? I think that, three years ago, it would have sounded far-fetched to me. After all, we begin our days with worship music and start and end every meeting with prayer. We trust God for money and don't have to worry about a raise or much job competition. This should be a cake walk, filled with people speaking encouraging words to each other and making decisions effortlessly. There should be a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day. "Today, I have HELPED people." Right? Riiigggghhhtttt.

My mom had a phrase she always used when I was young. (Have I shared this before? Sorry for repetition.) Anyway, being an ER nurse, my mom tends to deal with emergencies quite well. And every time I would come home from school, work, voice lessons, play practice...etc. with a DRAMA that I just couldn't see the way out of, my mom would look at me and be all like, "Jessi, you're not saving lives at Brooke High School." Or, "Jessi, you're not saving lives at Krogers." Get it? Meaning...chill out. Forgetting to load a bag of groceries into someone's car did not prevent them from taking in oxygen and surviving. It just wasn't that big a deal.

Sometimes this is hard for me to keep in perspective. Because I feel like it's one thing to give money to an organization doing good things for the under-privelaged people of the world, and to feel a sense of satisfaction. And it's one thing to come here on a short trip and proclaim that "the beauty of the African people changed me way more than I ever could have changed them." And to really feel like you did make an impact. But I feel like there's such a responsibility when you're the one here making the promises to follow through to completion the things that we say we're gonna do, when we're gonna do them. And when we don't, we don't just disappoint ourselves, we let down people who have been let down by people and circumstances for their entire lives. It's just difficult to comfort myself with my mom's standard phrase, "You're not saving lives..." Because, what if I am? Not to mention the saving of souls, what if I could have saved the lives of the 10 kids in Mukuni who died from malaria this rainy season? What if it was as simple as going around with malaria tablets and showing people how to use them? What if...a million times over. Every project is not mine to complete. And nothing is mine to complete anyway. Especially if I'm gonna do them using the "footpumps of Egypt." Meaning that we'll get nothing done laboring in the flesh...

So, believe it or not, it is a stressful job. A rewarding job? Yes. Many times not like work at all? Yes. And no, I do not for one second feel like I'm making some sort of unfair or unneccesary sacrifice. And I never forget the fact that there are people working jobs they DON'T enjoy and sending money to Jake and I to be here. We live in appreciation of that. In the Kingdom, no job is more important than the other. It's not like the missionaries get up to heaven and are told, "Hey, you get first bid for the master suite since you slept with bugs for 20 years." Other people experience way more stress in their jobs and don't get to experience any thanks at all. But there's a lot of responsibility that comes along with privilage. And just when I think I'm adjusted...it hits me.

I woke up yesterday and looked at myself in the mirror. It took me 4 months in the States, as well as lots of lotion and hot showers, to reverse the effects that Africa had on my face last year. It took 10 days to undo it. I look like I'm 24 going on 44 again.

I feel like in some ways I spent 10 days complaining about Africa. You know those old women who complain about their husbands with a gleam in their eye? That's how my heart feels about Zambia. I love these people so much it brings me to tears. I LOVE the culture, the music, the dancing, the food, the language. I am so blessed to be a steward of this cause. How did this ever happen to me...this opportunity? Why is it that I get the privelage of being the one worrying about how to feed the widow instead of how to make my house payment? I will never be able to express how much I feel that we are truly living the dream...

And after living this dream, I'll never be the same again.

7 comments:

sophanne said...

We do what we can, the best we can. You are beautiful 24, 44, 64, 84. The words you share are not just complaints- they are beautiful perspective that many of us don't have access to. Your blogging did plenty on this side of the ocean.

Nene and Pappy Norm said...

Dear Jessi, As always, your blog is heartfelt and full of honesty. It still amazes me how I can read your blog and feel like I am right there seeing everything you see. You really are an amazing writer!!! I do, however, doubt very seriously that you look like you are 44!! I think we need to send you some beautifully scented lotion to make you feel like you are 24 again!!! We love you guys.
Nene and Pappy Norm

Kristin said...

thanks for 10 encouraging days Jessi! I love reading your blog :) Be blessed today!

Kara said...

"Does it sound silly and far-fetched to you that someone who is living in a foreign country and ministering the Gospel as a career has job stress?"

-That doesn't sound silly at all. In fact, I can't imagine a more stressful job (at least in my opinion) At the end of the work day, I leave my office and my work and the emotions involved. You don't have the luxury of leaving your work.

I loved reading your daily blogs. Its so interesting to hear about your day to day life. You would probably think its lame to describe how you cook dinner, but I'm sure I would be fascinated anyways.

Andrew Roth said...

Man you guys are awesome! Be encouraged and keep on being strengthened... Blessings to you guys! Get ready for the next wave of people coming over!!!

NeNe and Pappy Norm said...

HEY GUYS!!!
We miss your blogs!!! You spoiled us with your 1- day diary, Jessi!
Love you all
Kisses and hugs
A HUGE squeeze for our Bundie girl!!!
NeNe and Pappy Norm

LillyB said...

I agree...just because the 10 days are up doesn't mean you can't keep writing!