Last night and this morning, I took some time to fill up my bathtub a little ways and just soak my feet in warm water. Being in Tanzania for 8 weeks caused quite the build up of dirt and mud in my toenails and has left dark stains on my heel.
I brushed my teeth today without worrying if the water was clean enough to do so. Both of the main places I stayed while in Africa had very clean water and I was able to use the tap even for drinking, but I was very aware of what a privilege it was.
I’m currently writing a blog post that will post in a matter of seconds when I’m finished with it instead of the usual half an hour my last eight posts took to upload in Tanzania.
I’m about to go throw all of my clothes in a washing machine and dryer instead of hand washing them and hanging them out to dry.
Last night and this morning I got to see my family and some of my best friends who I missed so much, but I didn’t get to see my favorite kids in the world or any of the great friends I made in Tanzania who I am currently missing so much.
Everything is different. Not necessarily better, no necessarily worse. But it is oh so different.
My worst fear about returning from Tanzania is that I won’t be able to make these two worlds meet. I am afraid of compartmentalizing my trip in a separate part of my heart and mind because the difference between my life here and my life there are so utterly different that I can’t find anyway to make the Tairin who lived in Africa and the Tairin who lives in Iowa be the same person.
As I was scrubbing my feet, I though about just ripping the toenails right off or at least cutting them down to half their size. They are ruined anyway, I thought to myself. That dirt will never come out. My feet are ruined for cute shoes forever.
Good. My biggest prayer now is that God forever keeps my feet dirty.
My heart and my mind are too ruined to ever again be the Tairin that a mere two months ago slept in this bed awaiting her trip to Africa. They have to be.
It hurts to think about Tanzania. It hurts to remember the poverty. It hurts to remember that I don’t know when the next time will be that I will see all my friends from there again. It hurts to know it may be awhile before I ride on those dirt roads and take in astounding views of trees and mountains that I can’t even describe in words.
But there is such an immense joy when I think about the utter and unrelenting faith of most of God’s people there. There is a joy in remembering the giggles of the kids and all the goodnight hugs I got to give them. There is a joy in remembering all the conversations, joking or serious, I got to be apart of with some incredible people that remain on the other side of the world.
My feet are dirty. There is no going back.
My new prayer is that God continues to make me dirty. I want Him to break me everyday. I don’t ever want to just be neutral. I want to be intentional about everything. I want to be absolutely ruined for the things of this world.
God keep me dirty. Find new ways to ruin me right where I am.