Heath from the future (present, but not when I was writing this) here to say that I will be finishing up the Sumba blogs, so this won’t be my last total blog. For those interested, they should be up later this week. To the post!
As of this moment, it’s 12:03 PM on June 29, and I’m not OK. I’m kind of freaking out. I got back two hours ago from a trip to Jakarta, and will leave in another 6 to go on another one with our pastor’s family and Ashlynn’s host family. After we get back from that trip, I can count on my hands how many days I have left in Indonesia.
I find myself, in times like this, gripped by a peculiar kind of tense panic. A panic that seems to question itself: I have a hard time understanding that the end is real. I came to Indonesia, I’ve spent a year in Indonesia, living and learning and changing and growing and forming relationships and now… what?
I’ve started writing this blog, the blog that will be my final one from Indonesia, several times, and I have ended up throwing away all these half finished renditions, mostly because I didn’t want to think or talk about it. But now the ugly truth looms, a line in the sand has been drawn, and I know all too well when it will arrive. It’s time to talk about my feeeelings. (for those who were looking for anything funny here, sorry. To be fair, I’m not normally very funny, so you’re looking in the wrong place… try Travis’s blog!)
One of the largest frustrations that I’ve experienced this year is that now, almost 10 months into my time here in Indonesia, I am finally feeling comfortable. Language has begun to flow (at least a little), I’ve made close friends, and I know how I relate to the people around me. So of course, now is when I begin packing. Right as the pieces formed together, it seems like it will all be taken away. I’m frustrated. It’s the sort of frustration that makes kids cry. A dumb, unreasonable, bitter frustration. A frustration that accompanies a perceived injustice, a violation of the universal fair (yes, I know, life’s not fair, but that’s the frustrating bit here). This frustration seems like one that’s important to talk about, but still defies articulation. I don’t know what to do with it, but I think that it’s important.
I suppose I also think it’s joyful.
Joy. What a misplaced, neglected emotion at times like this. It’s sometimes hard to see, but it’s there. Every time I’m reminded that in less than 14 days I will be gone, I am also reminded of why I feel so frustrated: I have done exactly what I hoped to do in this time. I have made connections that I cherish. I have grown in my faith and personally in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, and I have fallen deeply in love with a place that I didn’t know anything about a year ago.
So that’s what I choose to think about. I choose to remember that the injustice inherent in leaving a place, community, and lots of people you’ve come to love is something that, while notable, pales in comparison with the idea of having come to love them. Call me a romantic, but it’s better than the alternative. I remember that though I am sad, this sadness comes as the truest blessing I can imagine, a sadness which I have been gifted, repeatedly, by so many people and especially by God, though immense grace and countless opportunities.
I stare down the end of my time. It’s a fact, now, no longer deniable, not something I can think about later. It’s here. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I mourn the change and the difficulty which I will face in the next few weeks. I mourn the fact that, while sustaining friendships is possible after a year like this one, and I’ll probably be back, it’s going to be different. But as I mourn, I also remember to be joyful and grateful. I am frustrated because I have had an amazing year. I am sad because I have loved.
I mourn what I will loose, but I rejoice in what I have gained.