Some gifts you can hold in your hands, and some you must hold in your memory. Recently, God gave me a gift of the latter kind. Over Easter I had the opportunity to step away from work in Kyenjojo to pause and be refreshed. Don’t hear me wrong; I love my work and colleagues here, but the days are long and sometimes grueling. Since I haven’t grown up here, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and do things that remind me of home. I traded my typical outfits of wrap-skirts and ill-matched t-shirts for jeans and more stylish tops. (You wouldn’t believe how nice jeans feel after 6 weeks of missing them.) I traded my latrine for flushing toilets, and bucket baths for showers (sometimes even with hot water!). I traded my carefully spoken English for my normal sloppy American accent – yay for friends that understand American English! I gladly gave up the early mornings, hot sun and pressure of project management for relaxed days in the breezes along a beautiful lake shore. I welcomed any fresh fruit, cold foods (yogurt!) and vegetables that don’t really exist in Kyenjojo. And I didn’t miss hearing “Mzungu!” (white person) ten times each day.
It became apparent how tired I had been when I was very content doing very little for several days in a row. During these days I enjoyed some sweet times of worship and prayer as I watched the clouds morph and blow over the lake. To speak honestly, I’ve neglected my devotional life over the past few months. But last week the realization of God’s presence and care for me was so real. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the only one that has been with me in every place my life has taken me, and that he is still with me now.
For those of you who, like me, are prone to keep working without a break, I urge you to make those times of rest happen. The “sacrifice” is well worth the gifts you might find.