I don't usually stray from the normal mail/letter writing theme of this blog, but I wanted to share something that has been on my mind today. For whatever reason, I have been thinking about my trip to Tanzania almost 6 years ago. It was by far the most moving experience in my whole life.
I have told a few of you in letters about my trip, but I don't think I have ever really shared anything that I wrote while I was there. So I would like to share a small bit from my travel journal with you.
"Laying here I can see why so many people speak of Africa's majesty. In preparing for this trip, I did what most would do. I devoured any literature I could find. I wanted to know what to expect. But the truth is, no one can really learn about Africa from reading, it is certainly a place one must visit. Any expectations are sure to be squashed with a mixture of harsh reality and utmost beauty. Sure there is squalor and filth, but once you get past that you can see how absolutely beautiful this place is. I have never been to a more moving place in my entire life. And I should think I wont ever feel this way again."
"I can say that I have slept under the shining blanket of stars that covers this continent each night. Tonight, after my third day on safari I laid outside my tent, back to the earth staring up into what must be the most glorious night sky in all the world. I could see the tiniest stars shining brightly down upon me, the moon casting faint shadows over the vegetation that surrounds the campsite. And I must admit that if ever my belief in God had faded, this place was sure to bring it back because I know I could only describe the sky as absolute Heaven."
"Not much in nature literally takes my breathe away, but this place, these people..they have that ability. I find myself feeling more at peace here than I have ever felt. And I can only wonder what it will be like to return to my luxuries at home. David Livingston has a quote about giving up the luxuries and I wish I knew the exact quote at this moment, so I could compare my feelings. I am almost certain they are the same. So many people on this trip have complained about the conditions, especially when it comes to bathing, but I must say it is a small price to pay for this feeling I get deep inside. This connectedness to the earth and these people will be something I will long for each day from here til the day that I die."
I think it is that last statement that is what has me thinking about Africa. I felt such a closeness, I cannot describe it because our words simply don't match the feeling. Have you ever felt that before? If so, I would very much like to know.
Anyway, I hope you all don't mind the aside. Just thought it might be nice to share some writing I don't typically share.
Oh and incase anyone is curious..here is the quote by David Livingstone I reference in the journal entry:
People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. - David Livingstone