We arrived in Kenya two nights ago. The jet lag arrived today.
It’s finally caught up with me; just like I knew it would.
Whole-body weariness, the kind that settles on you like an oppressive blanket, enveloping you not with a sense of warmth or comfort, but rather heaviness and subjugation, leaving one powerless in its mind-numbing grip.
I do not do well with jet lag.
I am not like some (i.e., Bruce) who are able to push through/ignore jet lag and keep to a normal schedule of the day, the idea being to force the body to adapt quicker to the new time zone.
This has never worked for me. Even if I do manage to stay up until 9 or 10 at night, I will most assuredly find myself wide-awake and raring to go at 1:30 or 2 a.m. the next morning, my brain on Minnesota time, eight hours behind the Kenya clock.
Maybe a week, maybe ten days, before the “lag” catches up with the “jet”.
The two long flights themselves were fine: on time and uneventful, just the way we like them. Economy-class-cramped, crowded with every seat taken (who are all these people flying to Nairobi on a non-holiday, ordinary Thursday morning?), and the sometimes less-than-appetizing airplane food aside, I still marvel that one can be half-way around the world, 8,000 miles away from home, in less than 24 hours.
Including the four-hour layover at the lovely Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport, always a treat. A major airport renovation was happening there, resulting in many shops being closed or covered in plastic; my favorite restaurant’s “giant teacup” tables (see pic below from a previous trip) were also missing, which was a bit disappointing.
Still, nothing beats a warm Dutch chocolate croissant and strong cup of Starbucks to perk one up at 5:30 a.m. after an eight-hour overnight, mostly sleepless flight across the ocean, illuminated this time by a full moon in a cloudless sky, Orion shining brightly through the window.
And it hits me, once again, that this is my life. This is the life that I get to live. Me, a small town Iowa farmer’s daughter, introverted and cautious, not an adventure seeker in any way but someone who married the extrovert with the big dreams, and has an even bigger God, who has made it all happen for us over these past 20+ years.
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea….” (Ps. 139:9)
Here we go, once again. Moving back to Kenya with four trunks and two suitcases (plus carryons) crammed to the hilt (and bang on 50 pounds each, the allowed limit, thanks to ultra-packer-extraordinaire Bruce) with
- kitchen gadgets
- more clothes
- more books
- and whatever-else-other-random-thing-Kate-thinks-she-needs
for our two-year commitment to teach and mentor Christian doctors and nursing students at Kabarak University.
“…even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Ps. 139: 10).
God is here.
Even as I deal with jet lag and bittersweet feelings of loss for my precious U.S. family and life, I feel it: His presence, His eye on me like a steady beam of light, full of love and assurance, for me, as I lay awake through the early morning hours under the mosquito net, pondering the “what ifs” and “what will be’s” of our once-again new life in Kenya.
As I once again listen to the gentle Swahili cadences of the early morning workers arriving to fix our breakfast; as I once again learn how to “ballet-dance” drive, weave, and bob in and out of the heart-stopping traffic through the ever-more-congested city streets; and as I once again get to walk beneath the willowy jacaranda trees fast dropping their luscious purple petals, carpeting the sidewalks and roads.
As I once again begin to fall in love with this country and its people who have been such a big part of my life and who are so dear to my heart.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man
the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
He is here. God with us. Immanuel.
And He has prepared the way. It is He who is here through the jet lag, as I fix my mind on Him during these sleepless wee hours of the night. And it is He who will guide us, and hold us fast, as we step out in faith here in Africa, once again.