And today my heart is heavy. I am what my roommates and I affectionally refer to as an “emotional sponge,” meaning I tend to absorb the strong emotions that surround me, both positive and negative. While that can be an asset in some situations, sometimes I just feel completely consumed with feelings. How can I feel this much? How can I hold all of these cares, concerns, and fears without letting them overwhelm me? I’m trying to be so much and care so much, but it still never seems like enough.
Moments like these are often when I feel most helpless and incapable of really making a difference for any of these kids. I know that’s not true–and I have had some minor moments of “success”–but there’s still so much left to do that it feels overwhelming at times.
At moments like this, my first instinct is to retreat. If our instincts when threatened are to flee or to fight, mine is to flee. I just want to go back to our house, curl up in my bed, and sleep it all away. I want to fly back home to Missouri, to my life before I knew these realities so intimately… before immigration had a face and thousands of heart-breaking stories… before the failures of our public school systems were manifested in children whose laughter and jokes were the highlight of my days… when my little bubble of comfort and security was all I knew.
Sometimes I can’t help but think, “It would be easier.”
At least, it’s tempting to think that it would be easier to go back to my life before JVC, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be. It isn’t.
Because I don’t think I can ever see the world the same way again. I don’t think I can look away without that pain in my heart of knowing, seeing, feeling–at least on some level–what it’s like. Going back would mean forgetting, and it’s never easy to forget the places I have loved, the memories I cherish, and the people that moved in to somehow take up space in my heart.
It’s already too late to go back to comfortable. While my first instinct may be to shut down and back out, I know it’s not a real option. I know it’s just my fears talking. As a friend reminded me recently, “Fear is not from God.”
So, I stay and I fight, even in those moments of inadequacy, where I feel hopeless and helpless and I wonder if I can do anything right at all. I get out of bed in the morning, I get ready for another day, and I walk to work. I keep going, I keep moving, and I keep trying to trust.