Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, June 26, 2006


somedays aren't yours at all
they come and go just like they’re someone else's days
they come and leave you behind someone else's face
and it's harsher than yours
and it's colder than yours
they come in all quiet, sweep up, and then they leave
and you don't hear a single floorboard squeak
they're so much stronger than the friends you try to keep
by your side
--Regina Spektor

The night before I left for South Africa in May, I called my parents to talk. One of the things my mom said to me that night was: "I don't want you to go to South Africa." She said it almost half-jokingly, but with my mom, I know there's always truth underneath such remarks. I returned joke for joke and said it was a little late for that, as my plane was leaving in less than 24 hours. She said that if South Africa was where God wanted me, then that's where I should go. A somewhat mitigating comment, but...well...let me fast-forward a bit.

A conversation with my dad soon after I got home found him talking excitedly about CRM and NieuCommunities, and saying how he had found pictures of the NCSA site online and how it seemed like a really beautiful place...this was such an encouragement to me. I felt like my parents were on board with this opportunity, and even excited about it.

This weekend I made the decision to definitely pursue going back to South Africa in January. I did the semi-cowardly thing yesterday and emailed the family instead of calling. I did want to include my brother & sister in the news, and it made some sense to get out what I wanted to say in an email rather than making three phone calls. I almost immediately got a glowing, encouraging response from my sister. Today, I got an email from my parents. It included the following: "South Africa is not where I want you, but I do want you in the Lord's will, and if that's where He wants you, then that's where you should be."

My mom again, I'm pretty sure, even though the email was signed "Us." I've been swinging between being excited about this decision, and being completely overwhelmed (because--I'm moving to Africa in 6 months?! Aaaa!). But this email sort of squelched any excitement I had today. I've grown to realize just how much I am affected by criticism/disapproval/disappointment from my mother. And the repetition of "this isn't what we want you to do" felt oh-so-much like disappointment.

Friends have expressed both excitement on my behalf and sadness that I'm leaving. There's a lot I'll be leaving behind, and that's weighing on me a bit today. I don't like letting people down, and in some ways, it feels like that's what I'm doing in leaving. I know that's not entirely true. But today, that's the way I'm feeling, and I hate that.

But if I must go
Things I trust will be better off without me
But I don't want to know
Life is better off a mystery
--Derek Webb


| posted by Barbara | 11:22 PM