Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the blink of an eye...your world can change...your direction can shift...your life can transform. In the blink of an eye, God got a hold of me, and his method to break me, was devastating, but I see His glory, even in tragedy. It's Saturday night and I am sitting on my bed, the balcony open, the street aromas coming though, smoke, taxis honking. My mind has been in a trance today with my recent and quick trip to the states and back. 22 hours after hearing of Aimee's death, i was on a plane, and now i am right back where I was. Tonight as I was walking through our neighborhood to stock up on food, different mosques went off with their calls to prayer. One by one the calm evening sky suddenly had a soundtrack, and my mind went wild. I know the reason I was called to serve here. The darkness is so heavy, and after witnessing the frailty of life this last week, my heart hurts all the more to bring glory where it is due. I am not skilled at the language, and make cultural mistakes daily...but I know I am where I am supposed to be. I know I was placed in this exact spot with a divine purpose. And maybe for the first time in my life, i am okay not knowing methods, the outcome, or the schedule...for the first time, i am reminded who is in charge, who can take it all away...who can make things happen. For the first time I don't care that I am not running the show...and actually quite relieved that I am not... I am at peace watching my Father work His wonders.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Loss of Aimee

It's Sunday. Had things progressed as expected, then I would be leaving school about now, walking down the street to catch a tram home, avoiding dust and hiding my light eyes behind sunglasses. I would be heading home for an early dinner, my weekly grocery shopping, and then my  Sunday skype date with mom and dad. But no, this Sunday it is a rainy morning in Charlotte. The sky is dark, and I haven't seen real rain in months. The last place i expected to be at this moment is in Charlotte, NC,  and a newspaper displaying the angelic face of my precious Aimee laying beside me. The headline next to me reads "School Mourns Teacher After Fatal Wreck."  I go in and out of moments of belief and disbelief at what is going on. Thursday night, I received the horrible news that my Aimee had gone to be with our Lord after a head on collision with a truck less than a mile from work. Within hours, someone booked me ticket to leave Cairo for a few days, and come home to Charlotte, to grieve properly with Aimee's family, and our friends. For the past couple of years, Aimee and I grew very close, and were inseparable.  Moving to Cairo meant leaving her, and leaving her was something I struggled with. We talked constantly during my time there, and I always got butterflies on the days we were scheduled to skype. Oh how I missed my angel, and was thankful for the technology which allowed me to see her, laugh with her, cry with her, and feel as if I was sitting in the room with her. We were scheduled to skype this weekend. I have been racking my brain trying to remember what our last conversation was about, and although I cannot remember, I do remember one thing. She always ended every conversation on Skype telling me she loved me, and then she would tilt her head, I would tell her i loved her too, missed her, and couldn't wait for the day I could show her around Egypt, because i knew she would LOVE it. Aimee always did her best to love people "well". That was a phrase she used with me a lot. She would say, "Christy, how can I love this person well?" It wasn't enough for Aimee to just love them, she wanted to love them the best way she could. She was willing to give of herself to love them as God would, even when it was hard for her. Aimee's love language was "words of affirmation" and she always expressed what was on her heart. I pray that through her death, people would learn the difference of loving people, and loving people well. We need to all take Aimee's life as an example of how to live to love people, how to be authentic in our love, and how to always be sincere. You knew if Aimee said something, she meant it.  I am so thankful for the time I had Aimee in my life. God blessed me with a month of traveling Peru with Aimee. She fell in love with the people, the mountains, and the jungles the way I did. How thankful I was to share that part of my heart with her. I miss Aimee so much, but she would want me smiling right now, and so I am choosing to rejoice in knowing she is in a wonderful place, sitting with her Father, and at peace. R.I.P. Aimee are missed. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little did I know, that this country would challenge me to the core, while snatching up my affection at the same time. I have been having quite a "western" weekend by ordering CHINESE take-out, going to see Sherlock Holmes and wandering around a beautiful upscale mall of marble decor and fancy stores. Based on my weekend, one would never know I was living in Egypt. But once outside, the reality smacks you in the face of women begging in the cold, sitting on street corners with their bundled babies in their arms. Fully covered women, exposing only their eyes through tiny slits share my seat on the tram, and are gracious to help me with directions knowing very well my Arabic is limited. Tiny dirty children play in the streets, and sit atop garbage piles in an area of the city designated for those who don't choose to participate in the majority belief system. Friday morning call to prayer provides large groups of men bowing toward Mecca on sidewalks all over the city. Donkeys pulling wagons of garbage own the roads each morning. I can't seem to escape how much this place is in need. I can escape for a few moments, but its not like I am on vacation and will be kissing it goodbye. Reality is setting in that this is now HOME ...and yes, that makes me smile :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Two Months Down...

Two months ago during my preparations to move, I was staying with my parents, playing yahtzee with mom, eating Taco Bell, and finding myself addicted to The Biggest Loser. Now, I lay in bed at night awake listening to cats screaming and fighting in the alley below my balcony. I cross many lanes of roaring traffic by foot, I buy hot bread off the street, and donkey carts share the road with trains and cars, all fighting for its right of way. Cairo is where to send someone who needs some reality knocked into them...its not a forgiving place, you have to stand up for yourself...and as I learn little by little how to live here, I see its magic...and why it captivates people.

Every time I step foot out of the elevator onto the bustling streets below, I never have a clue what I will witness. People watching had always been a pastime, but in Cairo, its my full time entertainment. Pulling out my camera is not always a good idea, but you find that people may not believe if you tried to re-create with just words what you have seen. I know this place is changing me as it develops my need for patience, it calms my obsession with schedule, it forces me to see loving people as a choice.

I have to be careful to not play the comparison game with Egypt and Latin America. Although both are developing regions and hold many characteristics that are the same, they are also polar opposites in how they relate to people. This was a difficult thing for me to accept, and there are days I struggle knowing my place here, and seeing that the people are not all open to letting us in. I can learn a lot from them. Their devotion to their faith, their work ethic (usually), and their love for family are all things we Americans could learn from. Many struggles accompany anyone who moves to this part of the world, but I am finding that the strange stuff, the frustrating aspects, and the core of this place, are worth all that I am learning, and how I am being changed.