Never would I have guessed that my past six months would be spent on my family’s farm in the USA! When I concluded my Peace Corps service, I was making plans to return to South Africa as an independent volunteer in a couple of weeks… or a month or two… and then maybe for the summer… or even just for a quick visit?
Instead, South Africa’s borders have yet to reopen for international travel, and I grudgingly submitted to a time of restoration and fellowship, reconnecting with my loved ones while future opportunities unfolded.
Given the international travel climate today, I can only be thankful that I landed without incident last Wednesday in the United Kingdom: newly “enroled” for graduate studies at the University of Oxford.
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If there’s anything Peace Corps service has taught me, it’s the necessity of waiting.
My nature rebels against the humility and simple surrender of acknowledging that further action will avail nothing; the outcome is beyond my power to influence; there’s nothing to do but place my trust in the Lord…and wait.
In some small areas, my expectations have made the adjustment: the taxis to my shopping town, the line at the grocery store, the printers at school. Although service providers here rarely hurry and sometimes acknowledge requests reluctantly, that doesn’t mean they aren’t responding. A patient smile does wonders for my health and theirs.
It’s the big questions – about career, family, and the future – that send me into the wrestling ring with God. As a Christian blogger pointed out, there’s a difference between waiting for something you know will happen (eventually) and waiting when you’re not sure whether it ever will. The Biblical images of sowing and reaping acquire new resonance for me as I wonder when the time invested in these critical areas will begin to bear fruit.
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The bus driver slid a glance at me. I had rooted myself in front of the exit door, ear tuned to the name of my street. After two hours of dragging my luggage through tunnels and up staircases with a page of directions glued to my nose, I refused to risk a misstep in the last leg of my journey.
Thankfully, my host had warned me of every possible pitfall along the way. Armed with her directions and my experiences of the D.C. metro, I gained her doorstep without a single wrong turn or missed connection. She welcomed me with tea, of course, and showed me to a guestroom perched on the top floor of her townhouse. The window leans over the bed to share a view of London’s gray ceiling.
Her little boy found my name fascinating. Soon after making my acquaintance, he presented me with a “Hello Kitty” t-shirt. “Look, two kitties!”