africa

#AtoZChallenge: Acceptance

Today’s the start of the #AtoZChallenge, and I’m going to write about a recent experience with accepting those unexpected things that happen in life. So, friends, come on in, sit down with a cup of coffee (or tea, for you tea lovers) and let’s visit.

Today’s word is: Acceptance

Dressed in Xibelani clothes.

Four months ago tomorrow, I found myself on a plane with two hastily packed bags, on my way home from South Africa, where I had spent the last 2.5 years working with the Peace Corps.  I was exhausted, injured, and even though I was looking forward to seeing my family, I felt a little traumatized. A few days before, I had been told I would return to my rural site in Limpopo Province soon, where I would spent the next ten months. Then I would return home, at the expected time.

Girls dressed in traditional Xibelani clothes in my village
Girls dressed in traditional Xibelani clothes in my village

Then, the day before Thanksgiving, I found myself being told that a ticket was being purchased, that I would take a whirlwind trip back to my house to pack and say good bye in a few scarce hours, and that I would be on a plane as soon as they could find me one. I was being medevac’d for an injury and recently diagnosed neuro-muscular disorder.

A Gardening workshop in Venda, Northern Limpopo, South Africa.
A Gardening workshop in Venda, Northern Limpopo, South Africa.

It was a hard pill to swallow. Even after I landed in the States, it was hard to accept that I wasn’t going back. I fought with homesickness, guilt, and powerless in my journey of acceptance. I loved spending Christmas with my family for the first time since 2010, but I missed my African home and life. It took a while to accept that my life had changed.

Teaching my preschool babies!
Teaching my preschool babies!

And I’m still on that journey of acceptance and readjustment. Some days, it’s almost painful to go on Facebook and see all my friends who are still in Africa, because I want to be there, but I can’t be. Other days, it puts a smile on my face and peace in my heart.

It’s been a long journey.

Surprising my Dad with a visit home last summer.
Surprising my Dad with a visit home last summer.

But the pieces of the puzzle are falling in place. I have a job as a horticulturist now, and I’ve bought a car. I’m finding my place in my community and figuring out ways to bring my Peace Corps experience home. I’m still working with gardening and food insecurity, which I began to love in South Africa. And I’m accepting this change in my life as part of God’s great plan for me.

#LoveMyFamily
#LoveMyFamily

But it’s been difficult.

-Jen

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7 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Acceptance

  1. Acceptance can be very hard… I have trouble just accepting the things I can’t control, but I need to learn how so I can get rid of that unnecessary stress. I’m sorry for the diagnoses and that you were sent home for good, but I’m glad you’re settling back it. It will be home again for you someday.

    1. Acceptance of the things we can’t control is extremely difficult…and I still struggle with it daily.. But with each day comes a little more healing and peace.

  2. Sometimes it is difficult to accept the plans the Lord has for us. In my life, when I do accept His plan, after much debate, I wonder why I hesitated. You would think I would have learned this lesson by now.

    1. Exactly!! I struggle with this lesson every time He challenges me to trust Him with the future. But we are still imperfect humans dealing with a Perfect God…at least He’s patient with us!!

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