it’s the last morning of the year. tonight, couples everywhere will look into each other’s eyes with hope and promise as they kiss to seal the end of one year and the start of another, together, with anticipation for the journey ahead. i remember kissing bob last year as the clock struck 12. he had such a sense of purpose about him—not just for himself, but for us. we were both nervous about my move to africa, but i at least had a peace about it. the peace and purpose dissipated in a month’s time when turmoil bigger than africa (in my mind at least) knocked us both off our feet. i’ve been unable to give my heart away since, though i did try recently, albeit with unsure effort… it was, nonetheless, with love.
so here i am, living alone in africa. i say that to myself several times a day, “i live alone in africa.” sometimes i say it almost resentfully, other times with a kinda dizzy contentment, but always i say it with awe. right now i write it in my journal, sipping on my cup of tea, accompanied by the morning sounds that could take pages to describe.
i watched amelie last night—that movie never grows old. i wonder if others relate to amelie as much as i do: wanting to love others, yet afraid to be loved; noticing the small things, yet feeling unnoticed; a wild imagination (carolyn can attest to that!); a quirky misfit. and yet she finds love. someone comes along whose whole life was constructed in such a way that it’s as if every day since the day he was born was leading up to this moment of shared understanding and joy. it gives me hope every time. guess i’m not only a misfit, but a romantic.
so how will this romantic be spending nye? not with tingly kisses and warm embraces, but not alone either. i’ll be cooking dinner with sarah and marianne, making a meal of wagasi, a local cheese made from the nomadic tribe of fulani up north. then we’ll head over to the price’s for a kid-friendly evening of games, snacks and firecrackers.
new years is a big deal in benin. in the states, we approach new years with a look ahead, making resolutions and promises to ourselves about how this year will be different… better. in benin, though, the celebration is more in gratitude for what has passed, for being alive. it is not about storing up wishes for the future, the future is too unsure. it is about celebrating the moment and the life this moment represents. it’s a practice i could learn a lot from. the Lord knows i’d a happier person if i wasn’t constantly asking when i’ll find love or when i’ll get to go home—which both boil down to the most nagging question of all… when will i be understood?
clearly i’m feeling pensive…
happy new year! praise God for 2007, and may He bless you in 2008.