Well I reckon this is it. Right now, it’s 5:30AM. I’m in the sitting room warming up next to a blazing fire with my cup of Mzuzu coffee. The jeans I hope to wear to Nashville are laid out in front of the fire drying. In the distance I can hear the morning rooster roll call. It’s probably 40 degrees outside which means its damn cold inside with no heating. It’s been really cold lately and dreary — good weather to match the mood of departure.
What words do I have at this moment? None. A few moments ago, I just started crying. Tears feel like unexpressed words that have concentrated and condensed. So I cried. I cried to God for protection and safe travel home. I cried for the friends and family in whose lives we now leave a gap. They are so grateful for our presence and touched deeply by our leaving. I cried for the kids who are the best example of how to let an experience like this wash over and permeate life. I can only hope now that the seeds planted will grow and be harvested for years to come. I cried for our friends and family back home who are so excited to see us. Their love, support, and anticipation is what gives me strength to put one foot in front of another. I cried for Wilson who thinks of me as a father but in reality is more a brother. It was easy not to worry about him when he was on our payroll. I cried for my Malawian mother, Lucy Kandioni, who wailed at our departure last week. It was the kind of wailing you only hear at funerals here, and I wonder if there is a reason for that. The increased frequency of her illnesses and general weakness worry me that she may be close to her final journey home. I cried for Daniel who serves tirelessly a church institution that gives little back. I would have cherished a few final moments together yesterday and today, but it wasn’t to be. I cried for my marriage which has been tested, stretched, deepened, and strengthened by and through these past two years. If you want to get to know your spouse, live and work with them daily for two years. Not many marriages are designed for this type of dynamic but ours is. And I am very fortunate to have that gift.
Most of all, I cried for Malawi – for all the things known and unknown that I will miss; for the people who can always smile “no matter no what”; for the intensity of the light, sounds, and smells; and most of all for the people who are not poor except that we label them so.