02 October 2014

It’s been one meeting after another, crazy wonderful weeks doing assessments and presentations and meetings here and there and working with an incredible team here in Madagascar.   I haven’t had much down time in the last few weeks, but this evening I find myself in a quiet, reflective place – all my meeting notes are written and sent, my team is several hundred kilometers away so there’s no catching up to do tonight, and my only meeting to prepare for tomorrow is getting to the bus station on time and praying the anti-nausea meds I have will be sufficient for the ten-hour bus ride through mountains and valleys down to the port city of Tamatave.    So, pull up a chair or wrap your fingers around a cup of coffee and let’s chat.  What’s on my heart today?

I am so happy and blessed to be here in Madagascar. Doors are opening, favor is abundant, details are falling into place and the people are incredibly warm and welcoming.  But at the same time, I’m watching Ebola continue to destroy my friends and heart for west Africa, and it seems like every single day the scenery around me simultaneously screams beauty and also the very reason we are here and not there.   I’m sick of hearing about it, I’m sick of reading about it, and the current panic about it showing up in the states only adds to my frustration level.  And yet, like I couldn’t peel my eyes away from watching the buildings collapse over and over and over on 9/11, I can’t stop reading the headlines, the articles, the comments from ignorant and educated alike, speculating and throwing words around as if these aren’t real people and real lives and real families being destroyed right before our eyes.

Wow, take a breath.  

I almost feel guilty for having such favor here in Madagascar.  Seriously, things are going amazing and this country needs our services and God’s love desperately. We are coming at just the right time, everyone is saying so.  And I’m wrestling with what seems like an unanswerable question of how can this, what is happening there, be okay?

Let’s change topics, shall we?

It seems I’m once again back to the question that has haunted me for years – How does one pursue excellence, which is a good thing and what we are called to do, without crossing that imaginary line into the pursuit of perfection which is impossible and only leads to disappointment?  Confession – I feel like a total failure, as a person, approximately most of the time.   I know I’m not alone in this feeling and if you’re honest, you’ll admit the same thing.  Please don’t respond to this telling me I’m not a failure, I know that.  Really.  I know.  I work hard and I get to do amazing things and I’m talented and gifted and good at what I do (mostly). But there is always more that could be done, things that could have been done better, handled better, in a more loving way, with more grace, or gentleness, or whatever else might have been lacking. Always.  So what I am wrestling with is what exactly does excellence look like for me, or for this situation or that interaction… can we actually purse too much excellence?  How is that possible?  Where is the line? 

Sometimes my thought life can just wear me out.   

Another change of topic.  

Did you know the usual bride price in Madagascar is at least two zebu? A particularly helpful taxi driver informed me of that little gem.   When I passed it on to a lovely friend, she said, “Krissy, you’re worth at least four!”  Treasure.   The jacaranda trees are blooming and the beautiful purple flowers are a breath of beauty.  Mangoes are just coming into season, promising plenty of hives and Benadryl in my future.  This country also has an abundance of strawberries, a rare treat for the Africa Mercy crew.  Who, by the way, found themselves arriving safely two days ago to Cape Town, South Africa, after eighteen days at sea and twenty degree swells… no thank you.  No matter how sick I get on the bus down the mountain tomorrow, it is still better than eighteen days at sea.  No question.    But I digress.  

In other Africa Mercy news, besides doing PR tours and looking for elephants in South Africa, the crew and story of hope offered by Mercy Ships won 60 minutes an Emmy award!  Pretty cool, huh? The other cool thing, among many, is that I get to be reunited with my ship home in less than a month!  Cheers. 

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into what’s on my heart today.   Glimpse is a funny word.  Because I love words, I looked it up:  a very brief, passing look, sight, or view.  Accurate, methinks.  A drive-by into the inner wrestlings and random facts from yours truly. 

Wherever you find yourself today, seek out the joy in it.  Until next time -- xxk

The port of Tamatave as seen from outside of the general hospital.

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