I don’t do well with change, and I’m completely aware that life is going to be extremely hard for me, if I don’t accept it. Because it’s constantly occurring. It honestly freaks me out. It’s like this weird mix of excitement for the unknown, fear of what that might be, and sadness of what you’re leaving behind. There are all these questions that float around, like, When will I be back? Will I see you then? Who will you be at that time? Who will I be then? What will be going on in our lives? In the world? What will be different? They threaten to consume me if I think about them too long, and before I know it, I’m sweating, my knees are aching, tears are welling up, and I’m on the verge of a meltdown. Prime example of why I’m to not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own.
“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place,
like you’ll not only miss the people you love,
but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because
you’ll never be this way ever again.”
So, I’m kind of freaking out. A month from today I’ll be traveling to Kampala to prepare to fly home. Here in Mbarara, it’s the last week of university, and then most of the students will go to their homes until studies resume in August. And, in case, you didn’t pick up on that time frame, it means that when they return to Mbarara, I’ll be in the states. Which also means that what life has looked like for me the past few months is going to change dramatically after this week.
I’m not going to be eating rice, matoke and g-nuts at the university canteens with my friends at least three times a week anymore. I’m not going to be sitting on a bench leading discussions about political science (that I’m completely unqualified to teach) anymore. (I’m still hoping that the notes they gave me to teach that discussion were accurate and that the girls I taught are passing their exams today…) I’m not going to have random bible studies and prayer meetings and times of fellowship with girls who happen to have an extra couple of free hours because of a canceled lecture. I’m not going to be meeting up with girls early in the morning and in the late afternoons to go for runs and do some workouts together while we talk about the joys and trials of the day along the way. I’m not going to be sleeping in the hostels every Friday night with the girls anymore or dropping by the girls’ rooms in the afternoons to say hi.
It’s not the fact that life is going to look different that is freaking me out because I’m pretty sure that there will still be some of my girl friends here in Mbarara that I’ll continue pouring into. I’m also pretty confident that regardless of where I am in the world, I’ll be doing life alongside my sisters in Christ because that’s what I love doing. But the fact that these specific people, friends who are so much a part of my everyday life now, are leaving Mbarara has got me feeling a little anxious. Each young woman is so special and unique in her own way that I know there is only one of her in this world, and each one of them has come to have a special place in my heart. I’ve intentionally planned a few days to spend in Kampala before I fly home so I can see some of the young women I’ve been spending most of my time with, but I’m so aware of the huge role they’ve been playing in my life. The thought of not having them by my side in the day to day living makes me sad. Clearly, I’ve dealt with and adjusted to change up to this point in time, and I’ll deal with it as it continues to happen. However, I just really love the way my life is right now. This is that moment where I’m reminded that everything is to be held with an open hand because it all belongs to the Lord. So, I want to be sad about the change; I want to reminisce about the last four months and all of the laughter and growth that has been had. Yet, even as I want to be sad, and believe me there have definitely been those moments, I can’t help but praise God for the way he’s so abundantly blessed me and allowed joy that comes from Him alone to be my strength.
On Friday night at church, Pastor asked us to all share something we praise God for about the last year. As I looked around the circle at all of the friends who have become so dear to my heart, I could feel the burn in my eyes. I was the first to speak, and I had to praise God. I explained that my last Sunday at Relevant Community Church in July I cried. I cried because I was going to miss my church family and friends. However, this last Friday night university gathering of the semester at church, I was crying again. I was crying because I knew I was going to miss my church family and friends. And, that was a powerful testimony to me of how God's been at work within me.
I’ve learned so much. I’ve grown in ways I can’t yet understand or have yet to realize. I’ve gained a new level of maturity and independence that has come as a result of living in a completely new and different place. I’ve been allowed the opportunity to experience life, to grow into the woman God is continually making me to be, and I’ve been loved by so many in the process.
I have to deeply thank all of the loving, accepting, grace-giving, joyful friends I’ve made at Mbarara University of Science and Technology for allowing me to be a part of their lives and for allowing them to be so much a part of mine. I’m so grateful for the time they’ve given me, the way they’ve challenged me, and the way we’ve all grown together in our walks with the Lord in the midst of doing life together. Just as I’ve been praying and looking forward to the day I’m reunited with friends and family from the states, I’m doing the same for the day I’m reunited with those I’ve come to love so dearly here in Mbarara. Here’s to a joyful, God-glorifying week together.