Africa Made Me Stupid, but it taught me how to Love.

AFRICA

This is me with 3 dear friends at the infant orphanage. This is my favorite picture from the whole trip. I have never seen women look more beautiful.

I went to Africa in March. I came home stupid. I would sit and stare out the window at nothing, deep in thought, questioning everything about my life. What I mean is that I have been in a state of shock, for lack of a better word, in coming home to the United States of America. I have been home for about two months now and am just writing about my experience. No way will I be able to write in one post all that I saw, felt, learned and ponder on daily, almost every minute, from one simple trip to Africa.

Simple? I guess technically the trip was simple. Simple in that nothing we did while there was hard. In fact, just the idea that we went there to teach and move the people there is almost laughable. I was so out of my comfort zone while there that “culture shock” hardly matches the depth of the feelings I felt. I am tellin’ ya, the people of Kenya showed me something about myself that I did not consciously know about myself. And it seems so cliche’ in how I describe it, but here goes: They taught me how to love. Ok, so there is my cliche’. They taught me how to feel a deep love that I realized I knew nothing about in my life as I was living. This deep love was not deep to them. It was just love and in their minds, everyone loves like that and they see only good in you. They just know that you love them, too because all people are good and love is the only way to exist and we received it the entire time we were there.

I always considered myself a deeply loving woman. I am loyal, I quickly and easily forgive, I look for opportunities to serve (mainly because it makes me feel good), and I truly want to be, and live, as Christ did. Boy did I have a lot to learn. I am forever changed for becoming part of the Kenyan family. My Kenyan name is Namayiana. It means “the blessed one. One blessed with many children.” Now that was not hard to come up with now was it?

So, who am I now that I have become the member of a new family? Actually, the new family doesn’t feel new to me. They feel like they have always been there and that I just needed to get on a plane to get back in their lives. How strange! We would drive down the street and wave at the passers by, and they would wave back. They would wave back with such vigor, excitement and true joy that I was shocked to feel how deeply I somehow automatically knew that they loved me. I felt it all the way to my bones with zero doubt that they thought I was nothing less than wonderful, even majestic.

Now how is this possible to feel this, this feeling of deep, deep love that I have never experienced before, from someone that I don’t even know their name. I was not prepared for this. I didn’t know love felt like this. I started to question everything that I knew about love. If this felt like a wave a new emotion, of acceptance from a deep part of my soul that I didn’t know existed, then what do I not know? What is out there, out in life, that I have missed? I am intelligent. I love my family and friends and fellow man. So then why is this so new to me? Why did I not know that love was really missing from my life. That I was ripe for an awakening of spirit. That I had no clue what I was missing, nor what I was going to receive.

I have become Kenyan now, so what does that mean? Will I forever have this pull to go back to Kenya? Am I afraid of these feelings? Because I am home now and have rarely desired to talk with anyone about how I feel or share my experiences. I have realized that my experience is nothing less than sacred to me, so when people casually ask me how Africa was, I just say it was awesome. But on the few occasions that someone has asked me from their heart how I feel about Africa, I tell them from my heart. I tell them, with tears streaming down my face, that is was life transforming. That I am forever changed. That the people of Kenya have taught me how to love and now I am tortured with the task and responsibility of bringing this to others. How do I know this feeling, or lack of it, in the world, and not share it? What is my responsibility with this new awareness?

So each day I wondered and actually prayed about it intensely, as these feelings and wonderment do not leave me alone. I have a responsibility, I know I do, but what is my responsibility? I want to feel this was in the USA. I want everyone to feel this. But I am only one person! How can I make a difference to reach this many people? And does anyone really want to know or experience it anyway?

After being so caught up in myself and all of the emotion created from my experiences in beautiful Africa, I feel that YES, people want to know what I learned. At least some people do, and so I figured it out. I figured out how to spread the message of love. I get to live it. That’s it! Just live as an example of what real love is. Love in a way that you can feel it in your bones. Cause I experienced that in Africa, so it exists, and I am forever changed for it for the better. I believe when I live my life in alignment with that level of love, things around me change. They already have.

I believe this is the way that Christ loved people when He was here on the earth. I believe the people of Kenya have not forgotten or lost this. I believe they have much less distraction around them, so they use their time learning and listening and loving each other. Hey, they are the three L’s. I need to write that on my wall. No wonder the people of old clambered to be in Christ’s presence. They were hungry for what He offered them. For some it was many things that he offered, but one that I experienced was simply to feel love. Love that their spirits hungered for and they were willing to die to feel that way. I understand that level of being forever changed just for having felt that way for a short time while in their presence.

I have all the evidence around me that my life is a shamble. My husband just got diagnosed from his doctor as permanently disabled and I have a bright and shiny new handicap placard hanging from my rear view mirror as evidence. We do not have a “steady” paycheck coming in any longer and with 8 children still left at home you could think we are in dire straights. But I have never been more clear about the direction my life is going. Everything happens for a reason and every trial I have, I like who I am on the other side of it. I like that I have a new perspective of a whole new circle of people that I was not able to relate to before learning such hard things. And I get to practice and test what I preach. That there is an abundance in this world and there is more than enough for everyone, and I get to access it when I believe and live into that. I get to test my faith and learn more about myself in the process. This level of humility is enlightening as I have had new awakenings to things I didn’t understood existed in this world.

So if I didn’t leave you with your head spinning, or just didn’t make sense, I apologize. I was literally thinking out loud on paper, well while typing anyway. I hope I made one thing very clear. I now know what love is and I am working to keep that alive in my heart and build on what I can learn from that. I have learned that Love has the ability to awaken things in your heart that bring a whole new level of awareness to how small I am, and yet how powerful. How much deeper all things can be, when I choose to truly be present to my life around me. Being truly present in each moment, not allowing distractions to rule my life, and reaping the blessings for making this change has changed everything for me.

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Look at the light in his eyes! He is sitting just to the left of me. He is joyful and filled with love. This is what I want others to see when they look at me.

Africa, so much to share about the experience, but love, well, love was the big lesson.
To be continued…….

2 Responses to “Africa Made Me Stupid, but it taught me how to Love.

  • Thank you so much for sharing! How I want to have experiences like that, and I am excited to hear more! Love ya dear friend!!

    • Thanks Jess. Good to hear from you. You can have this experience. Just decide it and believe it will happen and watch as things come together for you. I truly believe in this law.

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