Sunday, August 23, 2009

words and words and fish-balls

i promise you i go to this blog at least every 2 weeks, open a window for a new post, stare at it for a few minutes, and tell myself i'll write another time. i don't know what it is, but i just find myself without words. always without words. i still love writing, but there has been some sort of block on my brain for the last year... don't worry, there is still plenty going on up there ;-) i'm just not finding the words to let it all out. and when i do find words, i'm not usually willing to share them. i don't know...

i actually think that this is good in some ways. i kinda feel like i used to write for validation as much as for any other reason. i wanted to be affirmed for what i was doing, wanted people to know i was smart, wanted people to hear all of the important things i had to say. i don't feel that way about my words anymore. i really don't. i think i have lost my pretense in my old age. i don't care so much what people think about what i'm doing. i don't think i'm all that smart. and i don't think i have anything to say that is more important than what anyone else could say about life, love, God... we're all just doing the best we can in the place where we find ourselves. i guess the "place i find myself" might seem a bit more interesting or exotic than the mid-west, but after 2 years in freetown, it mostly just feels like the city where i live. the things that used to seem so foreign that i HAD TO write about them are no longer so shocking... i'm sure if i wrote them down they would get a laugh, but honestly, i don't even notice the chickens in church, or the watchman peeing off of my veranda in the mornings. i guess my indifference is as funny as the thing itself, huh?

i'm quickly approaching my 2nd anniversary with this crazy city. i can't believe it! time seems to have flown by, but i know that i am a much different person than i was when i arrived. this makes me happy and sad in the same moment. while i have grown up and matured in so many ways that i probably can't even name them all, i know that i have sacrificed a great deal of my idealism to this place. freetown isn't kind to dreamers. i do believe that this place could use a few more hopeful people to believe in its potential, but being one of those hopeful ones often feels like a willful plank-walk. you believe because want to, but you know - save a miracle - it isn't going to get you anywhere good.

like i said, a lot has changed in the last 2 years. maybe that is why i have had so much trouble with words. you kinda have to know what you think about something before you can tell anyone what you think. one of my very most favoritest books is "till we have faces" by c.s. lewis. the climax of the book comes to mind now;

When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?

i do hope to find ways to say what is going on. and i hope that writing it all down will help me remember the things that do make this season of my life so interesting and valuable. there is no time like the present, right?! i want to hold it with 2 hands, look it square in the eye, and find the lessons and laughs that wait for me here. thanks for continuing to check in on me. i'll try to come around this page more often ...

one short story, just for a laugh: my third servant team arrived last sunday and we've spent this week roaming the city and having lots and lots of orientation meetings. yesterday we made lunch at my house and one of the guys was asking about something that he ate the night before with his host family. he said that they had a variety of fried things - fish, chicken, plantains, dough balls - with a spicy sauce over it and it was all really good. i told him that meal is aptly named fry-fry and is one of my favorite meals here. (you know what i health nut i am...) he was unsure of something he ate and described that it had a meat-like texture but tasted like seafood. i asked him if it was shaped like a ball. he said yes. i told him it was probably a fish-ball. he looked suprised and said "really?! but those were some pretty big balls for a fish!"

he was serious. i still can't get over it.


Erik said...

Seriously that fish had to have been huge!!! ;)

laura said...

i love fish balls. that's a great story--i had to read it to keith, too. we're both laughing in ohio, thinking of you!