"Don't question in the dark what you saw clearly in the light."
My amazingly wise brother quoted this to me last night. The past couple of weeks have been rough. There have been really great days, and really hard days. Sometimes I feel like life swings from fabulous to utterly dark and lonely with breathtaking speed. It can be as simple as a hard day at work or a sketchy cab drive or a too-quiet evening at home and the weight of living here seems to crush down with supernatural strength. I know that I was meant to move here. It was so clear...the call, the tug, the drive to move to this part of the world...a place where Americans rarely tread unless driven here by the hunt for money or the chance for advancement. I think that in my mind, I equate the call to move here with the idea that everything will be cheery and perfect. The purpose of my life here should be immediately clear, right? I should feel so close to God when I'm following His path for my life. Everything should go smoothly and I should be running along a mile a minute in hot pursuit of all the amazing things He wants me to do here. Right? But that's not how it works...at least not for me. My greatest fear is that I will miss His purpose for me. That I will fail to stand up and be the woman I am meant to be. That I will settle for an ordinary life and that the years will tick by like so many seconds on the minute in the quiet midnight hours. I'm afraid that when the darkness descends, as it inevitably does in all of our lives, my faith will vanish and I will stumble and fall. I will come up short, somewhere in the middle of this vast desert...and I will be a failure. As a counselor, I have no problem telling other people that they need to be real. Pointing out the masks they wear and challenging them to drop the overly-cheery smile and show the world their tears. But I'm a hypocrite when it comes to dropping the mask in my own life. I know so well how to look perfect. Smiling face, faith-filled words, passion and drive. The past two years in the counseling program have been a long and difficult journey of learning to take off my own mask. Believe me, it does not come easily. Part of the beauty and the pain of growing up overseas is that I learned to be all things to all people. I can transform like a chameleon to fit whatever you want me to be. This is an amazing gift, but also brings with it the temptation to lose oneself in the midst of these transformations. So I feel like the "right me" for this place and this time is the cheery me. But that's the mask talking. Underneath the mask is a complicated mess of tears and smiles and frowns and winks and praise songs and shouts of anger. And that mess is acceptable and (gasp!) even beautiful in God's eyes. My best friend in Kuwait is moving back to the states this week. The global nomad life is hard. Friends vanish and are replaced, and vanish and are replaced. I like leaving more than I like being left. So this week, there are a lot of tears. And that's ok. God's grace is deeper and more powerful than the fear and the failure. Today, life in Kuwait is hard. It's one of those days when I might just go online and look up the price of plane tickets home. We all do it. Most of us never actually buy the ticket, but there's something comforting in the fact that I know there are at least ten different flight options to get me back home within 32 hours. Kuwait feels dark right now. When I say goodbye to my friend later this week, it will probably feel even darker. But here's the thing...all of this was clear in the light. This is where I'm meant to be, for this moment and this season. So in the darkness when I stumble and fall, I still know that I would rather be trembling in darkness...knowing this is where I am supposed to be...than anywhere else in this world. God's grace is sufficient for me. I'm sure there will be many more tears, many more incredible moments, many more smiles, many more angry fists, many more sad goodbyes and surprising hellos. There will be darkness and light...and I will fail more times than I care to consider. But I will try to struggle honestly. And this week will end eventually, and the darkness will draw back, to be replaced by the searing heat of a sunny day. And you'll get to read about my sad moments and lonely days, but also about my funny stories and fabulous tales...and so the adventure continues! In His grace, moment by moment.