Can I be honest with you, oh anonymous readers? I haven't been okay lately. There is certainly such a thing as a mid-service slump, and I have joined the ranks. Hard. The slump was intensified by an ulcer that I had. It was a very real, if slim, possibly that I could have been sent home. Because of that and so many other things, my world has been upside down for the last couple of weeks.
I strive to post positive but real experiences on my blog so as to paint a positive but real picture of Uganda. I am really not lying when I talk about how much I love this country, it's people, my students, the culture…. But there is a very real sense of entitlement, of guilt, of questioning your entire experience that has come to the forefront of my mind. So few people can truly understand this feeling. Both an awesome, idealistic view of Peace Corps and a pessimistic, distasteful view of Peace Corps coexist in my mind. I can really, truly see both sides. This is all made worse by the fact that I'm missing important things at home, that I'm not as certain about my future as I would like to be…. I know I'm right where God wants me and that I'm learning from this experience things I could never learn at home, but there are really so many things to be anxious about.
The past few days have really, honestly been better. I'm finally back to work full-time this week after a delay from the ulcer and time spent in Kampala. (If there's one thing I've learned about my time management skills in Uganda, it's that I'm definitely better off when I'm busier. I mean, I finally cleaned my house today after at least a month and a half of just doing the bare minimum since I had everything else on my list finished.) More than anything, though, I've really been getting back to my pursuit of being Christ like after being sick. Living many thousands of miles away from home has been even more challenging than most can imagine, but I'm realizing that some of my suffering is not outside of God's purpose.
I have never been someone to be called humble. Honestly, only within the past few years have I seen and experienced true humility and understood its purpose. When I was in the youth group at my previous church, my youth pastor taught us that giving allows us to have a blessing. Although this could cause obvious problems with giving from a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7), he was using it as an example for someone who constantly gives to other people but refuses to receive. He told us to tell them to “Let me have my blessing!” or more simply “Let me bless you!” as a funny way to get around the awkwardness of the situation. It's still a line I use on my mom from time to time.
Much more recently, my (Ugandan) neighbor got frustrated with me because I wouldn't allow her to do my dishes for me. In my mind, I was being responsible. I dirtied the dishes, so why should she clean them for me? She said in an exasperated voice, “Why don't you ever let me help you? You are always helping us, but you never let us help you.” In that moment I was greatly humbled. Although I was simply trying not to be lazy, I was blocking her blessing, so to speak. I was too prideful in my “I'm a responsible adult that can do my own dishes” to allow her to help me.
Since then, God has shown me that my determination to be responsible is sometimes a source of pride for me. I struggle daily with pride, as many do. Many times it's a control thing - I'm a bit of a control freak - but even that is pride manifested. True humility not only gives but receives...regardless of how the dishes are washed and dried.
Proverbs tells us, famously, that pride comes before the fall (16:18), and I wonder if God hasn't used my recent circumstances to teach me a little humility. I had to rely quite a lot on my neighbors before my trip to Kampala, and even once I was in Kampala, they were paramount in a mission to bring me more clothes so I didn't have to wear dirty ones.
I'm by no means perfect, and I never will be. I'm also by no means perfectly okay, even now. I feel the depression and anxiety trying to creep their way back into my life when I sit idle for too long. But the reality of the situation is this: Even though I may not be okay right now, I know that I will be in the future because my God is great. My Savior will help me through this. In the end, everything will be more than just okay.