Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Real Life

I just got home from what turned out to be one of the most restorative and life-filled weeks I have had in the past two months. Where was I, you ask? With friends. In Durban, to be precise, but then that’s just a city. The location didn’t matter. The conversations with people-who-get-me, the hospitality and no-expectations, the just-be-yourself-safe-space did matter.

This combination of days turned to a week were just what I’d been looking for. and to think: the day before the journey, I was still debating if I should cancel it. I just have too much to do, important people I want to see and spend time with here in Joburg, packing and planning to do. What terrible timing for some “holiday” I planned months ago, before I had any idea how much my life would change between then and now.

How my life has changed is a blog I’ve been mulling in my head as I try to figure out a way to share about it: when that comes, or when I am more settled into those changes (whichever comes first), I’ll be sure to share all about it. In the interim, I’m resting in one of the things I have taken away from this week.

Now: This moment: That’s all that matters.

In the past few months, perhaps since moving to South Africa, I have been overwhelmed with stress or anxiety. For the first time in my life, I was made physically sick by all of the stress in my life. If you know me at all, you know the magnitude of that statement, as I have certainly been no stranger to stress. Some of this was self-inflicted, the most of it wasn’t. But I suppose the result of stressful things you can do nothing about is often more stress. So the cycle continued.

This past week, I stepped out of my growing bubble in Johannesburg and visited some American friends living in Durban. It was good to spend time with them and digest some of my life from the past few months. They understand all too well the elements at play in my life here, and it was healthy to digest and process my life with people who understand but are outside the situation. The opportunity to be honest and take down the walls of protection over involved parties was like a breath of fresh air.

Fresh air. Spring is in the air. In Durban, some days are so warm you forget winter has not yet passed in full. Fresh air on the beach, soaking in sun on my first full day in Durban could not have been a more welcome treat. We sat for hours in silence, listening to the waters crash, the birds chirp, the people laughing and talking around us. Beautiful Serenity.

Days that followed brought trips to good coffee shops (finally- good espresso!!), watching movies, non-work related chatter over countless shared meals and games of cards. We played with their 3 cats and I visited with their Monday night Bible Study group. I even read an entire book - the first time I’ve managed to finish a book since February or March.

All of this, and as I sit home reflecting on this “ordinary” week that didn’t involve typical site-seeing tourism as may be expected on a vacation (and first trip to a new city), all I can think about is how great it felt to be back to “normal.”

No negative stress. No overwhelming anxiety. No to-do lists looming or people questioning my actions. No one to check in with. Just time with friends, space for honesty, and a bit of healthy competition over a few too many rounds of “Nertz.”

At the end of the day, I can’t help but wonder:
    Maybe this simple stuff is what life is really “about.”

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