14 May 2006

Missing.

Seems like the world is passing by right outside my window today. The leaves are fully shimmering on the trees, which seems strange to me. It makes me think of getting up early to watch the world wake up to the warmth and hearty growth of itself. I think the world takes a deep breath in the morning, as if to say: We made it through another night. Or maybe that’s just me. The world must be awake to itself, all of those crickets and new hatched birds keeping it on its toes through the darkest hour.

Today for some reason I feel missing.

I miss that musty old house in Galle, Sri Lanka. Waking up, making strong black tea and drinking it plain and bitter from one of those big glass mugs, reading Psalms before the rest of the house was stirring, the warm humid air from the fan blowing through the living room. There was a film of salty sea mist covering every surface of the house, making the red painted floor dull with its coating.

We prayed together and read the scriptures as a family of volunteers in a foreign land that, by the time I left, had felt like a home of sorts.

We walked along the coast, talking to children who lingered at the water’s edge, collecting shells, making disturbing discoveries: clothes, shoes, pieces of broken dishes washed on shore. Moments of silence, of mourning.

I miss ten hot, sweet cups of tea every day in the middle of exhausting work, the breezy nights at the fort, the times of meditation at sunset rock. Sunset dog with her happy greetings, rolling around in the long grass belly up as soon as she saw me coming.

I miss the sun coming through the windows of Kalighat, sitting with patients, feeding rice and potatoes. Wringing out long the long green sheets that smelled of disinfectant with other volunteers, carrying baskets of laundry to the roof for the strong mid-morning heat to dry them.

The book I am reading now is called Gilead. Here’s an excerpt:

“A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone.

No doubt that is true. Our dream of life will end as dreams do end, abruptly and completely, when the sun rises, when the light comes. And we will think, All that fear and all that grief about nothing. But that cannot be true. I can’t believe we will forget our sorrows altogether. That would mean forgetting that we had lived, humanly speaking. Sorrow seems to me to be a great part of t he substance of human life.”
Marilynne Robinson

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

your memories made me cry...they are still so strong in my heart as well...shall we return? it's funny, because i was just thinking of Sri Lanka this morning...
how are you? let's talk soon!

5:14 PM  
Anonymous lizzie said...

i've "felt missing" so intensely lately...

8:17 PM  
Blogger angela said...

thanks friends. anonymous, who art thou?
lijjie, what's new?

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

I liked the post a lot when I first read it. I like the pictures along with it even better. Very nice.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Heidi Vincent said...

Angela you write beautifully. It was so great to run into you at Mushugga's last night. :) You know it's weird that you and Jesse gave me your blog address last night, because today our worship email was about checking people's blogs out. The only down thing about checking out Jesse's blog is that I've got a mean craving for bacon now!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Heidi Vincent said...

One more thing...I saw Marilynne Robinson at Calvin's writers conference and hearing a woman speak so warmly about country life, the soft thorns of womanhood, and dealing with loss, filled me with the most heavy joy. I agree, she is a gem of a writer.

3:01 PM  

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