I received a text message from my pseudo-supervisor /co-worker last night saying that he would not be at work today because something had come up in Blantyre (a town about 2 or so hours south of Liwonde). So this morning I sent him a message to say that if he came back in the afternoon just let me know because I have the office key and would stay in Liwonde today for meetings at the hospital. He then responds to say that he was at the Bi-annual review meeting in Blantyre which I was supposed to be invited.Malawi is beautiful, raw, and alive. The challenges I face here are so different than Ecuador. In Ecuador I was refusing invitations to meetings because everyone wanted the token gringa at their meeting, yet here in Malawi the last invited (if I even get invited). History and culture can easily paint the picture of why this is, but still it’s hard not to compare or take it personally.
This morning I read a beautiful quote about love (via icecreamisbetterwithafork.tumblr.com):
“It is a mystery why we fall in love. It is a mystery how it happens. It is a mystery when it comes. It is a mystery why some loves grow, and it is a mystery why some loves fail. You can analyze this mystery and look for reasons and causes, but you will never do any more than take the life out of the experience.
Love is more than the sum of the interests and attractions and commonalities that two people share. And just as life itself is a gift that comes and goes in its time, the coming of love must be taken as an unfathomable gift that cannot be questioned in its ways.
You need to treat what love brings you with kindness. If you find yourself in love with someone who does not love you, be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. Love just didn’t choose to rest in the other person’s heart.
If you find someone else in love with you toward whom you feel no love, feel honored that love came and called at your door, but gently refuse the gift you cannot return. Do not take advantage; do not cause pain. How you deal with love is how love will deal with you, and all our hearts feel the same pains and joys, even if our lives and ways are very different.
If you fall in love with another who falls in love with you, and then love chooses to leave, do not try to reclaim it or to assess blame. Let it go. There is a reason and there is a meaning. You will know it in time, but time itself will choose the moment.
Remember this and keep it in your heart. You don’t choose love. Love chooses you. All you can really do is accept it for all its mystery when it comes into your life. Feel the way it fills you to overflowing, then reach out and give it away. Give it back to the person who brought it to you. Give it to others who seem poor in spirit. Give it to the world around you in any way you can.
Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons for coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. If it chooses to leave your heart or the heart of your lover, there is nothing you can do and nothing you should do. Be glad that it came to live for a moment in your life. If you keep your heart open, it will surely come again."
I chewed on these words all day, but it wasn’t until the afternoon that I could actually taste them.I was walking into town and happened upon a group of school children who froze in the middle of the road with their big doe eyes waiting to see what would happen next…so I give them the usual response “Bo!” (This is actually short for Bonjour, of all the oddest things!) their faces melt into a huge smiles and their dark hopeful eyes light up like they’ve been waiting all day for the Azungu (foreigner) to say hello. My heart swells. Continuing on to the hospital, a woman sitting in the Maternity ward catches my eye and I smile and continue on, then on my way out she peeks her head out of the door and grabs my hand with both of hers, holding on so very tight and with the warmest eyes says “thank you.” I’m not sure to what she was referring or if she knew any other English but I was grateful for her love. Then walking back home I passed an older gentleman who was biking into town and mid-hill stops and gets off his bike to formally greet me. I am grateful for his love.
I really connected with this part of the quote,“Love is more than the sum of the interests and attractions and commonalities that two people share. And just as life itself is a gift that comes and goes in its time, the coming of love must be taken as an unfathomable gift that cannot be questioned in its ways.”
Instead of focusing on the where I’m not receiving love I need to reframe my perspective. Today I’m consciously grateful for all the love I am given here in Malawi because when I truly open my eyes I can see a magnitude of love.