I've started many entries, but none of them seemed quite right. I can't seem to find the right words, the right way to portray my feelings, the right way to put my thoughts into writing.
It's difficult coming back to "civilization", and though it's really nice to have the little luxuries and creature-comforts back (safe water, my own bed, fruit, family and friends, hot showers (!), American music), I left part of me in Jamaica. I know that sounds cliche, a line found in movies and corny songs, but it's actually hard being back.
I'm trying to jump back into the busy swing of things, but my mind wanders back to little Nicanor, desperately waiting for anybody...nobody...at the orphanage. His screams broke my heart when I had to leave, his tears soaking my scrubs, his little arms clinging to my legs as he locked his fingers so he could hold on to me forever.
As we walked to church from the parking lot today, raindrops falling on my cheeks, I thought about the last time I'd felt rain. It had been in Jamaica, while carrying bins of medical supplies back to camp after a long, hot day in a dusty clinic with countless dozens of people clamoring for a doctor's care. I held a infant that day who was burning with an unexplainable fever. The mother quietly sat, her eyes frightened, as the pediatritian examined her daughter. Afterwards, the mother ended up having nine teeth pulled, and hours later, as she turned to leave, her mouth bloody and full of gauze, thankful tears streamed down her face as she took her medicated baby (Grace) and headed out the door.
I get ready to begin my 8-week classes, and memories of the little school I peeked into rush to mind. Children's quiet voices floated from the doorframes as they recited the alphabet, the national anthem, the multiplication tables. Sitting at hard little desks, most of them sharing a chair with a classmate, they wrote diligently on their little chalkboards, brows furrowed...trying hard to learn. Their teacher is a young man, with John Lennon glasses, who is spending a year in Jamaica as part of YWAM. He wore a bright blue tie that day; striking against the red checkered pinnafores and khaki uniforms of his little students.
I had a really hard time coming back to the States after Spain. And again, I'm surprised at the difficulty of coming home after Jamaica. Why such culture-shock when I'm coming home?
I'd sit on the crowded bus, dental bins under my feet and medical packages in my lap, and I'd close my eyes as we swerved around tight corners, missing oncoming traffic by inches. I miss the Jamaican car horns. I'd rock in that bus, sitting in my scrubs amongst doctors and nurses and EMTs, and feel right at home.
I'd stand in a one-roomed clinic, sick and hurting people crammed in every corner and empty chair, holding a sick baby or dozens of patients' medical records and think, 'this is me.' My feet would be so sore and swollen from so many hours standing and working, my cheeks flushed from the tropical humidity, and for a moment I'd find an empty spot on the floor and sit down. Instantly, the little girls would creep over and sneak into my lap. They'd whisper to each other excitedly as they undid my french-braids and ran their little fingers through my hair. "It's so soft!...Where are your braids?...Why is it yellow?" I'd lean against the wall as they'd drape my arms around their shoulders, fight for my lap and try to kiss my forehead. "This is me" I inwardly thought, "this is where I belong."
I don't actually think I belong in Jamaica. But I belong somewhere. Somewhere else. I don't know where yet, I don't know what God has planned, I'm not sure where He'll send me, or where He wants me...but I belong somewhere. I belong somewhere doing what I did in Jamaica. But I want to be the doctor next time.
It's nice being home, it really is. But, strangely, I feel a bit out-of-place. It's home, and yet, my heart hasn't arrived quite yet.
I'm having a hard time quieting Nicanor's tears in my mind.