Thursday, 16 July 2015


You know that time of day when the sun is sinking and the light changes and begins to glow? Everything around you seems to be a brighter colour. This light flows into my parents’ lounge room and I often sit on the couch, letting this glowing light shine into my face. As it reflects off my eyelashes I see magical colours in my vision. It’s like fairy lights across your eyes. Needless to say, it’s my favourite time of day, not just here in Australia, but everywhere in the world.

I often struggle with what to write while I am at home in Australia. Just as the ship goes into maintenance, so it feels like I do too. There is general life maintenance like updating credit cards and my passport (thankfully now it’s done until 2025!), submitting a tax return, you know, all those things that no one really likes doing but are necessary for life. Then there is shopping for all the things that you need while you’re in a third world country for the next year with limited products available. And then the delightful part of being home, catching up with friends and family, seeing their little ones growing up, having tours through new house purchases, drinking wine and eating cheese, talking, talking, talking, drinking coffee and eating chocolate, taking road trips, walking along the beach and going barefoot in the middle of winter and not freezing.

I don't go barefoot in the winter much, but the other day I did. Warm boots and socks pulled off, tender feet reaching down to touch the green grass and feeling the soft sand slide and squeak between my toes and the cold sea water splash them as I walk. It made me think, there's a vulnerability to going barefoot. There's no protection to sharp things you might step on, instead you feel everything under your foot, be it sharp or silky smooth. I want to live my life barefoot, able to feel the things that God sees that hurt him, to not protect myself from the pain others feel, to be moved by compassion for another’s need, to be brave and vulnerable.

I have also been reminded that the path my feet are treading are so different to many others at home. My sights are set on different things. While some are buying houses, I am seeing make-shift homes on the beach from my port window or others who have nothing and sleep on the street. Some friends are having babies and I think of the maternal and infant death rate in Africa and thank God for the healthcare system in Australia and wonder when I will see a change in Africa. When I go shopping I can find everything a person could not only need but want in abundance, I wonder what to do with the discomfort inside me. While I sit in my parent's house, sheltered from the cold winter wind, I know it is a luxury for the hundreds of thousands around the world who wish they had shelter. I can count a thousand blessings.

It’s a strange thing coming home and seeing friends whom I haven’t spoken to since being home last year. I don’t really have any news. (Tsy vaovao) Nothing big has changed or happened, except that I have loved one hundred more people since I was home last, each with their own story, who have touched my heart somehow. How do you sum up a life of building relationships?

Recently I went to visit friends who live five hours drive north. At first I loathed the drive ahead of me, but once I was in the car on the move, singing my heart out at the top of my lungs, enjoying the beauty of the ever changing scenery around me, the sky stretched from horizon to horizon, it became a blessing. It’s not every day that I can sing with no one listening, when I can drive on my own wherever I want to or when I can stare at the beauty of the Australian outback.

Right now I sit with a roaring fire in front of me, a glass of wine at my side and I know I have every blessing. I have family and friends who welcome me home with arms out wide. Despite our different stages in life, we have many loves in common. I am so very thankful for the abundance of gifts in each friend and conversation, for the deep discussions and vulnerability, for trusting little hands in mine to share life with, however small the moment.

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