“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” [Unknown]
Whew, I’ve been in quite the busy season lately. Since writing so long ago, I’ve been in over my head managing two important grant proposals, have welcomed my mom, bid farewell to teammates, hung out with other teammates beachside, hosted friends, duplicated the number of furniture in my apartment, traveled to Swaziland and South Africa, and added a new women’s Bible study to my schedule. By the end of the day, I’m usually exhausted, uninspired, and sick of looking at my computer screen, so I’ve had little motivation to update everyone on the ins and outs of my life.
It has been a challenging past few months, in which I’ve grown and learned a lot. I’ve encountered about every emotion possible, but in the midst of everything, I’ve found glimpses of peace and hope. These states of being haven’t always come easily, and have often made themselves apparent only after a deep search. But somewhere in the midst of my reading and reflection a few weeks ago, I came across the quote above. Its simple complexity struck me. And I began meditating on it as my email inbox made me want to retreat into a curled ball under my desk. I thought of it as I contrasted the turquoise glass of the ocean with the roaring motor of the boat taking us out to our snorkeling location. And I began to recognize it under the noise and energy of my vibrant church members dancing and singing on a Sunday morning.
As these seeds of growth took root, I decided to seek the joy and peace of present moments, no matter how much chaos or confusion under which they are buried. And to commemorate this process, I’m hosting a get-together in my apartment tomorrow entitled a Life Celebration Party. Maputo has such a transient community where people rush in and out of the capital for a few weeks or months at a time. Regardless of if they’re language-learning, job-hunting, retreating, or volunteering for a short time, people seem to whisk away just as we make a deeper friendship. Because of these realities, I want to celebrate the friends and community that is right here, right now. Maybe their term will be over soon, or maybe we’ve only recently become friends. Still, I want to acknowledge the joy found in being together today, regardless of what tomorrow brings. Through this, I’ve found great peace in celebrating the present.