it's been six months.
six months of long days and nights working in the hospital. six months of my pager beeping as soon as i get food or sit down or fall asleep. six months of asking people why they came to the hospital. six months of being called doctor (and often nurse) yet still having no idea what i'm doing. six months of survival. six months of health. six months of being near family, of living with a sister who leaves chocolate and reminders to "just keep swimming." six months of grace.
it's been one year.
one year since the dark days of sickness that left me unable to move without oxygen wrapped across my face. one year since the endless days of fever and gasping for breath and tears and enough daytime tv to last a lifetime. one year since i've needed a chest x-ray or any new medicines. one year of survival, of fighting to get enough sleep, of swallowing handfuls of pills to stay well, of taking each day as it comes. one year of grace.
it's been five years.
five years since i walked through customs back into the united states. five years since i've used my passport. five years of speaking (mostly) english. five years where my shoes aren't stained with red african soil. five years where my heart is on the other side of the world. five years of waiting and praying and wanting to return. five years of sickness and schooling that have kept me from a tiny african kingdom. five years that i struggle to call grace because it's hard to be away. it's hard to feel powerless in the face of overwhelming need. to read the news stories of famine yet not be able to offer rice and beans to a hungry neighbor. to know their are thousands of kids without parents but not be able to hold at least one of them. to have friends who grieve the losses of aids but not be there to grieve with them. it's five years of weak prayers uttered to the heavens, of letters and packages with airmail stamps, of sporadic updates. five years of telling stories that keep my heart remembering the love of my beautiful swazi friends. five years of grace.