I clutched the handle of my luggage bag, wrapping my Lebanese scarf around my shoulders and hearing the odd-sounding chatter in Mid-Western accent as the reality that I was back in the States settle in my mind.
I remember it all. The smell of Lebanese coffee and kefta with curried rice. The sweltering heat that exhausted us. The curious Syrian girls who giggled as they removed the small clips in my hair and placed them in their own. The barefoot Syrian boy in the Bekaa Valley running along the dusty, gravel street with my blue sunglasses slipping off each ear for they were far too big for him. Walking through the olive tree grove, with it’s pale, silvery-green leaves bending and whistling in the warm evening wind. Laughing, practically reducing myself to tears at the hilarious jokes and the unusual humor of the Heart for Lebanon team. The tears of Eisha, an elderly woman in the South of Lebanon; her family, torn apart by war, ISIS and horrific bombings. The smiles of Manel and Itab with their dark eyes, lighting up with joy and hope. I fight back tears and clutch my Lebanese scarf tighter as if I’m holding on to every detail, not letting one slip through my fingers.
“Oh God. Why does it hurt so much?” I felt like my heart was being ripped out of me. I wondered why. Why did God let me go there for 10 days only to have my heart fully delighted and captivated by Lebanon and it’s people? Why?
I am there again, standing on the rooftop of the guest rooms of ABTS breathing the cool night air looking out at the bright Beirut city lights and the distant noise of the the cars and traffic. My heart beat outside my chest as if it would burst from the thought that this was my last night in Lebanon. I can’t tell you how many tears I shed that night.
Being back has been an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster. I am still processing things and the stories that I’ve heard and amazing reconciliation that is taking place because of the power of Jesus’ love that is stronger than fear or Satan’s plans for hate and destruction.
People constantly ask me, “So, how was your trip?” I basically choke. “Umm…it was, uhh, great!” Like seriously, God forbid, I start talking about the trip and I’ll never stop 😀 So take notes, if you want to hear about my trip, be prepared for a 5 page email. Grab some popcorn 😉
But obviously, my jumbled rants scare people sometimes, so I had to train myself to keep it under 2-3 minutes. WHAT? My brain nearly exploded just at the thought of concealing a life-changing trip to 120 seconds adding in the “likes”, “umms”and extra distractions. While I won’t be the world’s greatest concise conversationalist, I have tried very hard to be brief, but impactful through my word choice and story selections.
And lucky you! You don’t have to be a victim to the sound of my rambling voice, but instead I’ll be breaking down my trip in little sections and telling you about each day, bit by bit!
I will be posting more frequently this week and next week because, surprise, I have lots and lots of pictures for you to see and many stories for you to hear! Stay tuned and thanks for reading today! 🙂