"I Have An Africa House"
One day early last year I was having a discussion with a new friend. I was telling him about this blog I wanted to write about living in Africa and he started asking me a lot of questions. He was telling me that he and his wife have made plans to visit Africa several times, but have been stymied at every turn. Then he asked if we had an "Africa room" in our home. "No," I told him, "we have an Africa house." We really do.
There are paintings from Nigeria and South Africa. We have wood and soap stone carvings from Ivory Coast, Kenya and Ghana. We have a painted ostrich egg from Botswana. We have brass figures from Nigeria and Ivory Coast. Most of our furniture came back with us from South Africa. Since we are down sizing our homes, I have had to part with some pieces. Nick has the antique kitchen table from the little store in Greymont. Cathy Rosenquist has the couches we bought from Wetherlys Furniture in Jo'burg.
I still have the wing back chairs and we have the bedframe and side tables that I saved and saved for. As a result of living in two story homes here in Virginia, we had to take off the top and cut down the posts in order to get the headboard and footboard up the stairwells. You can see the original bed here: Souhttp://www.wetherlys.co.za/stock/bed-oxford-4-poster-canopy-q-mah/th They still sell the same bed 12 years later! We will have to sell our dining room table this spring, but we will keep the chairs! We will also keep our comfortable leather couch!
Why all this talk about our belongings, you ask? Well, it's like this...Every day when I wake up and walk around my house I walk through parts of Africa. I walk through memories of travels. I walk through memories of incredible Bible study groups and parties. I walk through talks and tears and laughter shared with friends who live half way around the world. I walk through memories of incredible people we partnered with in the ministry and "administry" and children's ministry.
Don't get me wrong. I live very much in the present. I don't "mourn" those times. I relish them. I adore them. I cherish each and every lesson I learned and I hold deep in my heart all the incredible people God blessed me to know. If we hadn't gone to Africa, I wouldn't have these wonderful memories!
But here's the catch - instead of African memories I would have other wonderful memories and I would walk through a home filled with other incredible mementos of an amazing life. We are blessed because we chose to live in Africa. But we would have been blessed if we had chosen to live somewhere else instead. We gained so much making from this decision, but we would have gained as much from choosing something else.
I may seem to be writing in circles. Here is my point. Live the life you have. Enjoy the life you live. Make the most of every decision. Give your heart fully in every place that you live. Build close friendships. Be vulnerable. Be yourself. Learn all that you can. Laugh out loud whenever you can. Sing. Dance. Smile at strangers and hold the door - be polite and kind.
Make wonderful memories where you are and you will never regret where you are not!