Thursday, May 14, 2009

In which Susanna attempts to collect her thoughts in a somewhat logical manner.

I've never been much of a journaler (as evidenced by my scanty blog updates), but on my past two trips to Uganda in 2004 and 2007 I journaled pretty regularly. My Africa journal is one of my most treasured belongings. It is quite tattered; it has been with me to England, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. But it holds so many priceless memories of people and places that I do not want to forget. I think that reading one's own words is a much more accurate form of memory keeping than photographs are. A picture may be more visually authentic, but really cannot embody the emotion that words can. A photo's memory can be whatever its owner wishes it to be, but the recollection of honest words is exactly that: honest. My most vivid memories manifest themselves in the form of eager, hurried words scrawled in airports and hotel rooms halfway around the world. I love reading through my journal; it is a chronicling of myself, in a way. How I have changed, and how I am the same. I wrote the following words in 2007, the day after I returned home from Uganda.
"I'm sitting alone at home right now. Hard to believe I am back. It could be that I am back and nothing changed except my need to take malaria pills all month, but I have been changed. For the better. It was so great to see my family at the airport. I felt a lot of things. Joy, weariness, sadness, homesickness, contentment. I have definitely left a peice of my heart there.
"People have been asking me what my favorite part of the trip was (how distanced past tense sounds!) and of course it is impossible to single out a certain thing. My favorite part was loading 24 people in a 16 passenger van. It was being given an African name. It was being scared out of my mind to share my testimony with complete strangers. Being called Joab's other daughter. Sharing pictures of my family with everybody. My favorite part was whitewater rafting on the Nile. Listening to Darius pray. Crying at the genocide memorial in Kigali. I could go on for pages.
"Though I seem to have so many, the words aren't enough, as I've said time and again. As for a conclusion, I don't really have one. A conclusion doesn't feel quite right. I just know that this was not an isolated two weeks I spent going back to Uganda that one time when I was 17. It is part of who I am now. It is the living God moving and breathing through me. It is amazing."
These words are just as true today as they were two years ago. Maybe even more so. In five days I will christen the pages of a brand new journal. I look forward to reading through it years from now, and being reminded of the ways God worked through those two months in 2009.


  1. I think it is wonderful that you journal your experiences...some day this will be a treasure to someone other than yourself and they will be able to see how God worked in your life. The words we leave behind are little pieces of ourselves to remind us to reflect and appreciate all our blessings. Enjoy your fresh journal and may all the words written be filled with God's purpose, as surely they will be filled with His love. Have a safe and happy journey Susanna ~

  2. It's a precious thing to record your thoughts, feelings, memories. At the time it may seem trite or forced, but when you look back and, as Joni said, when it's shared with others it could be the very thing needed to be heard. What a treasure.
    PS Don't knock the photograph :) For some people who can never express themselves as beautifully and eloquently as you do in words... there are pictures. <3