It has been two months since we have been traveling and away from our ‘home’. I am fully engaged with my team and friendships in Kenya almost on a daily, but at the same time realize I am obviously not fully immersed. What does this mean?
Engaged – involved, attached, participating
Immersed – deeply involved, completely engrossed, absorbed
I like to give the example of baking. When you are engaged you might be assisting the baker or simply enjoying the cake afterwards. When you are fully immersed, you are the baker and know the recipe and basically running the kitchen.
It hit me yesterday that my immersion has dissipated and what I used to be numb to currently hits me in a very different light.
Every day in Kenya, I see joy and loss all wrapped in one. When you have removed yourself from that culture and everyday reality, you easily forget what that looks like.
This is where I am.
I have forgotten what my body and emotional capabilities do on a daily basis to regulate itself. You grow a stamina living in a third world because you know you cannot help everyone and you can only do what you are capable of doing. If I were to see all the hurt, loss and pain that I do daily in my neighborhood then I would be emotionally distressed and burned out. So, my body reacts and I learn how to live in that normal by adjusting my expectations and realities to know what I can handle and be a part of.
Everyone’s stamina and capabilities look different, so you find that balance for you. That is the life I live, normally.
When I step away from my normalcy and the daily culture, I begin a new normal and my body quickly lets go of those natural “auto-pilot” tendencies it is used to doing. This is a perfect explanation of why we take time in the states. Not only to see our beautiful family and friends and be refueled by their presence, but to also rest. To be able to let our guard down, let our ‘numbness’ go and just be.
So, yesterday hit me hard.
I received a call from Kenya that one of our women lost her baby upon delivery. I will not go into details, but she was full term and I can guarantee you if she would have had the medical attention and education that we all know so well, she would not be burying her sweet baby girl today. As I am anticipating meeting my own baby girl any day now, I was heartbroken. I also was in tears because the women of Imani Collective are my family. I do life with them. And I consider them my sisters. I not only am grieving for my sister and that I am not there for her, but it hit me that the numbness that normally surrounds my heart and helps me take hits like this more often has been completely stripped away.
This is not a bad thing as my senses recalibrate and become familiar to one another again, but it also very painful. I am sad for the loss, upset at the corrupt and uneducated system of the country we call home, and through it all, I am just trusting in our God that he has an ultimate plan for Mary and her family.
I am reminded, I have no control and that it is okay to just feel it all. To let the numbness be ripped away, let my heart be heavy and let my guard down. To let the realities that surround me hit me the way they should and just feel the raw emotions that life is made of.
Today, I am letting myself be overwhelmed with emotions and allowing myself to feel it all.