Eleven years ago everything got turned upside down. Not one of us saw it coming. In hindsight, we probably should’ve, but that wasn’t the way it was lived.
Eleven years ago we went from trying to help students grieve well in the face of a beloved dorm dad dying to helping students grieve many additional things in the midst of a coup d’etat. A single death didn’t make sense. While the actions of lock downs and power outtages and bullet proof vests fit the situation, it didn’t make sense that they should be a part of our world.
Eleven years later I can embrace some of the outcomes. I can understand (to an extent) they why of political upheaval that spills across a country, but it doesn’t necessarily compute. I’m even thankful for the path my feet landed on as they were ripped from the tropical red soil of Cote d’Ivoire and replanted in the high desert of Colorado.
Leaving is hard enough without having to do it unexpectedly. Perhaps part of the blessing that was disguised in evacuation was we didn’t have the chance to distance ourselves and complain about and dislike where we were before we had to leave. We left longing to be with friends, not gladly bidding them adieu as we set out on new adventures.
Perhaps part of the grace that enrobed our hasty departure was learning to lean on Jesus more than most of us had ever leaned before. At times it wasn’t leaning, it was being carried. Learning how not to walk is important, too.
I’ll never know why everything was allowed to unfold as it did 11 years ago. While I can see some of the positive outcomes, I’ll never know them all. Today some of my moments are filled with mourning, but many are permeated with joy. Eleven years later they coexist in a way I couldn’t have imagined with the sound of a ringing phone and gunfire rousting me from sleep.
I don’t think the world is upside down anymore. It’s just tilted in a way that makes me keep leaning into Jesus more and more.
If you want to read the whole story, check out the evacuation category
photo courtesy of kristyhall on flickr’s creative commons.