Well, we’re home, now what? All of my built-in friends are gone. When I wake up in the morning there’s no one to talk to. There’s no one at coffee that I can sit with and simply watch the changing colors of the sunrise. There are no smiling children on the streets to wave at on the way to work.
There’s no one who needs me between surgeries. No one grabbing me to go screen a patient. It’s very quiet here today as I sit and wait for the next one to start. I can talk to the family, dictate, greet the next patient and still have too much time to think.
There’s no roomful of patients blessing me and thanking me and teaching me new words and phrases.
There’s no storeroom to sit in and have a snack and wait for people to come in and chat for a few seconds. And at the end of the day, a day that is going to end much too early, hours before the days ended in Gulu, there’ll be no bus full of friends all happily and contentedly exhausted.
There’ll be no one to clap when I walk in the door. No waiting buffet. And no souvenir shopping.
No surprise engagements.
And most of all there’ll be no friends sitting around a long table where there’s always room for one more chair, if we all scoot a little closer.
There’s no reviewing the day together and planning for tomorrow and getting to know each other and reminiscing and dreaming.
There are plenty of other things to do. Wash clothes, make dinner, catch up on social media and work and relationships from home.
But honestly I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready to be home. Not ready for the trip to be over. Not ready for everyone to be gone.
But it has ended. And it’s too quiet. And lonely…
Over the next week I’m going to send out a daily reflection based on experiences in Gulu. My experiences were different than yours. And my way of dealing with those feelings and experiences is certainly different than yours.
But we all experienced something powerful in Gulu. And no one else is in a position to understand how to deal with it. Not your significant other or your children or parents or friends or even your pet.
I hope you find something in these writings that resonates. And remember to be kind to yourself. You may never recover from what happened there.
And that’s okay.
Peace and love,