I haven't written much in the last few months... er, that is, I haven't written much of substance... On this blog, on other blogs I guest-write for, or even in my journal for that matter. Why? There are a lot of reasons..., which I could or may go into some other time, but ultimately, I've succumbed to caring more about what people think of my writing than the actual need that I have to write. And really... this isn't okay. I've realized over the last several years that I am a writer. There are words in me that must be written, and many shared, for my own journey and to strengthen the journey of others. Someone said to me the other day, if I'm not writing what is in me to write, I'm not only depriving myself of the freedom it brings, but depriving others of experiencing the same. Wow. Words have power, my friends, in so many ways.
SO, all of that to say, as a preamble... I'm sorry if anyone is offended by anything I write, it's not my intention. I love to dialogue and discuss the big issues of life and joy and struggle and love and God and relationships and this big crazy mission I have been given to walk in light and love others well. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't in any way mean I don't value you as a voice, person, identity, friend, or family. No one is forcing you to read my blog, agree with me, or judging you for believing something different. I hope and pray my freedom in words allows others freedom in theirs.
Soapbox finished (for now).
SO... I've been a crew member on the Africa Mercy for exactly a month. Wow. It's been a roller coaster, for sure! In the weeks leading up to my return to the ship, I was really excited about the community... and really not excited about my job.
My memories from the three months I spent here in Sierra Leone last year were rich with conversations and encounters with others that filled the desperation in my heart for community and relationship, after coming out of 27 months of solitude in the Beninese bush. I loved everyone, loved the environment, was blessed with incredible roommates and relationships and friendships that I knew would last a lifetime.
This time it's different. This time, I didn't come from two years of solitude. I came from an incredibly close, deep, rich, challenging, loving community to which I poured myself out to and loved and was loved deeply. These are people I can jump right to the deep heart issues I am wrestling with, seeking healing and freedom and to be challenged in my journey, and they know me and my heart so well I don't have to explain myself, or fear being rejected or judged. It's a special community, one I'm so grateful for and am really missing now. Here on the ship, it seems every conversation begins with "So, where are you from, how long have you been here, how do you like it so far?" - these conversations are great and important, and I do want to invest in the lives of my fellow crew members no matter how long they are here... but a big part of me misses and longs for depth in community, conversation, and friendship, that I just don't have here. I know, I know, you're probably saying, along with others who I've expressed this to, "Krissy, it takes time. Give it time." - I know. But I don't like that. Things just move quickly in my life. I learn quickly and work quickly and find myself getting irritated at people or processes that don't; applies to friendships as well. I want things to move much more quickly than most, and find myself frustrated so much of the time at the fact that I need to just calm down, relax, trust and let things happen in their own time and speed. Ugh. I'm learning.
Many words ago I said I was excited about community and not really excited about my job. Now that I'm here, I'm finding that I am struggling more with community than I imagined I would... and, surprise, I really love my job!
As far as work goes, I am the Technical HR Facilitator, which basically means I support the HR function of all our technical crew (Deck, Engineering and the Purser's office), and I also handle all the HR functions of our day workers (210 at last count). Traditionally the HR Facilitator role on the ship was pushing paper. They've had a whole string of short-term HR people, have been mostly understaffed, and haven't had a long-term HR Manager at the helm for almost two years. They've had to focus entirely on getting paperwork done to bring people on and off (a tremendous amount required by maritime law), and putting out fires. Three months ago they finally brought on a long-term HR Manager (my boss, Nick) and now we are fully staffed with long-term facilitators. It's exciting for everyone, because Nick and the rest of the management chain is really focusing now on a vision for growth and becoming what a real HR team is elsewhere - focusing on not just getting people on and off, but developing our crew, retention, simplifying processes and eventually doubling our crew as we move towards the building and staffing of a new ship. We're really moving from a reactive to a proactive mindset and I love it. Nick is really a great manager and I've enjoyed getting to know his style and figuring out how we can best work together. I love working with people, developing better processes and learning more and more about the ship and how thousands of people across the world come together to make this amazing thing happen. It's exciting and I am really loving it.
So anyway, I feel like there are so many more words I want to get out right now, but this post is pretty wordy as it is. I'll continue to write more in the coming days and weeks and months. Until next time, here's a photo courtesy of Suzanne, of the sunset from deck 7. Stunning.
Love to all. K