Faith Reflections,  My Life,  Random Reflections

Driving in Kampala Stirred Up More Than Dust

Has it really been almost two months since I posted last?  Sorry about that. It hasn’t been for a lack of things to blog about but rather from an abundance of living.  November was a blur but a wonderful blur.
I spent two weeks in Kenya and Uganda on vacation.  I have an amazing amount of different thoughts and feelings to blog about from the trip. I think about them and ponder them yet struggle to restrict them to letters on a page.  Returning to life here has also been a return to massive amounts of distractions and clutter in my head and heart.  Is it any wonder that you go to sleep an optimistic, hopeful twenty-something and wake up a stunned, numbed thirty-something?
In the next few days,  I’ll try to share some different thoughts/reflections from my time in Africa and what I’ve continued to process since being home these two weeks.  Thoughts on playing church versus being the church.  Reflections on the good that is occurring in places where the bad has appeared to have the upper hand.  Thoughts on amazing people I met.  Reflections on being white in a world of black.
Something I didn’t expect was so much reflection on my singleness.  In Africa, it is very rare and unusual for a woman not to marry.  Even more rare than it is in America.  In Africa, people are incredulous that you embrace singleness.  They never accept it. They always end the conversation with “perhaps next year”.  It isn’t so much that they want me to be married as they want me to be a mom.  Not because they believe I would be a good mom but because I’m female and that is what females do.  We have babies. Lots of babies.
These discussions don’t bother me.  I usually find them humorous and slightly rebellious.  Go me.
However, it was a short truck ride with friends after a trip to the zoo with seventy Ugandans kids that got me thinking.
We were sharing different favorite songs via our mp3 players and the truck’s sound system when someone posed the question, “What song would you want someone else to sing to you?”  And by someone we meant someone in love with you.  The other three individuals are in their mid to late twenties and pretty quickly named their song.   As I started to think about it, I realized that I had no clue.  When I was their age, I probably had a song that I played on repeat as I dreamt about that special someone. But that idea or dream is so distant, I had no song to suggest.  I’ve done such a good job not focusing on relationships that I no longer had a dream to share.
A few years ago, I made the conscience choice to not listen to overly romantic music or watch a lot of romantic movies or read romantic books.  Occasionally I do but not enough to capture my heart and daydream like they use to do.  The choice was made for my health and benefit.  I didn’t want to waste thoughts or dreams on things that weren’t a part of my life and that I honestly wasn’t sure I wanted in my life.
But in that little truck outside Kampala, I wondered if maybe I had been too successful in my choice.  If maybe I had controlled this part of my life so much that I no longer am able to dream or be open to falling in love and sharing a life with someone.
And since then I’ve been bothered by this realization.  Bothered by the idea that perhaps instead of hearing a word from God about the call of singleness for my life, I’ve tried to control that which I have no control over.
There is a reason control is so alluring, so seductive, so deceiving.  There is a reason that control is a coping mechanism.
It is one thing to embrace singleness while still remaining open to whatever life brings.  It is another thing to embrace singleness so tightly that your face is buried in its chest.

One Comment

  • Jess

    Dear Melissa,
    First, why you never told me you had a blog?(laugh)
    You are so right when you wrote:
    “In Africa, it is very rare and unusual for a woman not to marry….. I’m female and that is what females do. We have babies. Lots of babies.”
    I know how you feel and my frustration only grows higher regarding this issue because you see, in Africa women of our age are supposed to be married and to have children.
    I don’t know why my people look down at singleness. I am not truly driven to get married or to have children but if I make this statement in some circles of mine, they will think I’m crazy or I need help to find a husband!(and they will surely help me to find one!!!)(laugh)
    I believe that celibacy is a gift from God and as long as you focus on God and you’re in His will, Girl!You’re OK!I would like us to discuss more in depth about your post in the “real” world–you know what I mean?!
    Cheers!

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