January 26, 2010

Yes- I am scared

Aside from the "when are you leaving" question (17 days!!!!!!!!!) the next question I always get is "are you scared". I think that most people mean this in the context that I'll be traveling without my hubby. And the answer is complicated. In some ways, no- I am not scared at all, and in other ways I am scared to death.

For some reason, this doesn't scare me.

But this is haunting my dreams.

The Congo is at war. And the war is raging. Soldiers are kidnapping children and brainwashing them and turning them into killing machines. Women are being raped and left to pick up the pieces without any resources and hearts full of shame. AIDS is used as a weapon here. Villages are in utter destruction, and the law is useless. But that doesn't scare me. I have no fear marching right into it. What terrifies me is leaving it. I am not sure how I will be able to leave all those suffering people. All those suffering children. In a way, I feel like what we are doing is so inadequate. I can't tell you how many people have approached us and told us how lucky little Miles is. That is not what this has been about for us. In every way possible, that child has saved us. We are the lucky ones. His very existence has stirred something in us. He has stirred something in our church. He has stirred something in our community. And if nothing else, those in our circle now know that the Congo exists. They know that children there are starving. They know that children there are dying of AIDS and malaria. They know that women are treated as property. In every sense of the word we are the lucky ones.

My heart has been broken for the Congo in the deepest way possible. So, no- going to a warring country stricken with unimaginable poverty doesn't make me flinch. That is just the physical. What scares me to death and keeps me awake at night is the fear that I won't be able to recover from what I'll see. How do you internalize such need? How do you look at those children in the orphanages and know that some of them won't be alive by the end of the week? My visit there will be just a snippet in time. The Congolese people will live like that long after I am gone. How do I take that in? How do I look at those hungry children and know that the statistics say that over half of them won't make it to their fifth birthday? How do I come back to my big house and 2 cars after seeing need and suffering like that? How do I look at my life and feel anything but guilt for my blessings? My prayer in this journey was that God would break me for what breaks him, because I believe that is the only way to follow his path. I am so grateful that this is what he has chosen to break me for. I know that because this is the path HE has chosen for me, that he will give me the strength to endure it. But I also know that sustaining strength won't shield me from what exists. It won't make the need go away. I can only pray that when Miles is home that the journey won't end for us. This is only the beginning and that is what has me terrified.

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