Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sabbatical

Johannesburg airport.
2:01 p.m.
Thursday, September 10
5 hour lay over

Between Worlds.

Anticipating the novelty and nostalgia of home has consumed me… mildly in the impending months and then intensely these last few weeks and then desperately in the final days.

I dream of them. Romantically. Urgently. Literally. I see their faces and wake up feeling restless.

Heather’s engagement ring.
Linnea’s first baby.
Peter’s new fiancĂ©.
Robin’s belly.
Grandpa’s eyes.
Eli’s independence.
Kris’ job.
Denise’s third.
Kerry’s love.
Mum’s health.
Erin’s house.


We are forced to shut these things off. To be present. To be available. To be Here.

And then, one day, someone lifts the blindfold and says

It’s okay. You can look now.

And in that looking swarms a thousand shadowed emotions: stifled joy and hushed grief and the type of yearning that grows from three decades of love for a place and people and planet that turns quite well in your absence.

This is the pressing sentiment as I zip my bags. As I lock my door. As I say goodbye to the neighbors.

This swarms through me when we lift off and I look down at that patched brown desert and that hot white sun and know that This too, will be a space I miss and crave and wake up restless for on the Other Side.

This transient world. Lucky me to have arrived in time for airplanes and volunteerism and an adventure and a freedom unknown to previous generations.

Lucky me to have loved with such variety and range.

Idling between worlds and feeling the bite of bitter and the soft of sweet coloring them both.

Lucky lucky lucky me. To be nourished and to ache with such intensity.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Hi Jess,

I'm a sophomore in college thinking about Peace Corps down the road and yearning to study abroad in Africa. I came across your blog about a week ago, and spent the next five hours of that day in rural Botswana. Thanks for writing this all down, it's been quite a read. Good luck with the rest of your program!