Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trying to Start

In the absence of knowing where to start, sometimes you just have to start.  This is what I am trying to do.

I'm trying to synthesize the last 4 weeks:

Breaking my foot.

Losing my passport.

Getting a new passport 2 hours before my flight to Turkey.

Spending a weekend in Albania visiting a friend with whom a friendship began 6 months ago over a day and a half in Italy.

Listening to a Syrian street vendor spew his anxieties and then wonder aloud, "Why am I telling you all this?"

Hearing from Turkish friends about the arrests and imprisonment of Turkish activists and journalists.

Forging new friendships while traveling on a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Spending 12 intense days with those new friends.

Going through checkpoints and checkpoints and checkpoints in Iraq.

Breathing in clean, crisp air high in the mountains.

Drinking tea with strangers.

Observing Iranian and Turkish military bases within striking distance of Iraqi villages.

Seeing remnants of rockets along the side of the road and signs with warnings about unexploded land mines.

Drinking tea with acquaintances.

Hearing the grief of parents who lost their children during demonstrations.

Seeing prison cells where men were tortured and photos of victims of chemical warfare during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Drinking tea with friends.

Having to say good-bye to my fellow delegates and CPT team members.

Arriving home and leaving 10 hours later.

Meeting writers - aspiring, published, famous - and wondering where my own writing will take me.

Missing flights.

Coming home again.

Wondering when I'll be able to write the stories that came to reside in my being over 4 short weeks.

The stories are still swirling within, not ready to be caught and confined by the limitations of my words.  Fragments are the best I can offer.  Pieces that may begin to form an outline of the puzzle I stepped into, one that feels beyond my ability to complete right now.  God grant me patience as I wait for the pieces to settle into place.

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