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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

D-day minus 5: Naming the Losses

The TCK book, which I am speed-re-reading as if I can minimize the damage to my kids in this last week, says that Third Culture Kids' (those that grow up in a culture different than their parents', and yet are not fully part of it, so they create their own "third" culture from their origins and their hosts) losses are so often hidden, which makes them hard to mourn.  No one dies, there is no funeral, and for Jack and Julia no graduation ceremony.  Yet they are getting on an airplane with one suitcase and leaving behind their entire life, in a place that is rather inaccessible and completely removed from day to day reality in America.  They won't run into their old friends, or sit on their old furniture, or speak their old language, in their new environment.  Ironically, there was an actual example in the book about a "rock collection", and within a few hours of reading it we came across Jack's bag of rocks.  Which we then packed.

So last night we talked a little about the losses.  For them:  their best friends at school, Charity for Julia and Ivan for Jack.  Star, our dog.  The cows, DMC, Truffle, and Oreo.  Their teachers, especially Miss Anna and Master Desmond right now (found out they made him a card on their own, and presented it to him today).  This house.  Their bikes (though they won't miss being abused on the road as they zip by).  Their school.  Playing football.  That's about where their attention span ended, but we pray that we remember to take time to keep naming.  (They didn't mention their books, but their primary coping strategy seems to be reading, hours a day, all their old favorites, like visits with friends they will soon leave behind.)

As we name the losses, we also look forward, and hold on to the paradox that longing to see grandparents does not negate their love for Bundibugyo; that missing their home here does not minimize the value of their relationships with their cousins.  That being hopeful about a house with fewer roaches and bad smells does not mean we are not content with this one.

And I'm listing as well.  The data-base I keep of HIV-affected children.  413 names, from a few weeks to 16 years old.  Many who represent a big investment of my heart, many whom I barely know, all in need of an advocate.  As I updated and printed today to turn it over, I felt like crying.  Then Assusi told me that she had just come from a workshop on early infant diagnosis, and planned as of next week to start setting up a screening point in the Wednesday clinic to track these kids!  That would be wonderful.  Pray for her!  And Costa, who labors on in spite of this marginal system.  Our team can not just swallow up all our burdens, they have to be carried by Jesus and shared with others, like Assusi and Costa and Olupah.

And so another departure paradox.  Acknowledging that only God can care for Bundibugyo, whether we are here or not.  But also looking back to say that those hours and days and years did mean something, that choices had consequences, often for good.  That our team's actions here DO indeed bring the Kingdom, and that the inevitable cutting back on some of that effort is real, and sad.  Change for good, but not all of the change is good.  A loss that needs to be named.


rach to the h said...

Yes. Thanks - Rachel

LissaR said...

It may be too late for this, but have you had Jack and Julia go around with a camera taking pictures of their favorite places and things?