Late last night I found myself on the bathroom floor, clinging to the toilet and praying for the nausea to pass. It was a rough night.
I know the culprit was my parasite antibiotics, and I wondered if that’s how the medicine was supposed to work – was I literally supposed to throw up all those squirmy worms inside of me? I know that’s not really the case, but still I wondered.
The World Race continues to haunt me – in good ways and bad. The good ways are the ways I’ve changed, the people I miss, the ministries I can’t forget. The bad ways are obviously this parasite, and some regrets, and the bitterness I recently burned up in my living room fireplace.
The World Race sneaks up and haunts me at different places and times, but the main one is in my bed, late at night. I always miss my team the most when I can’t sleep, or when I’m having bad dreams or am tossing and turning because my stomach hurts so much.
I only threw up once on the race. It was a year ago this month, actually, in Romania. Our host family had a garden that was filled with endless tomatoes. We ate these tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or so it seemed. I love tomatoes, and I loved being able to go out and pick out the ones I wanted to eat that day.
On one particular afternoon our host Dad made a huge cauldron of tomato juice. He offered it to us, so of course we took it – even though the idea of tomato juice didn’t thrill us. Halfway through my cup I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it, so I slyly offered it to my teammates, but they refused because they had their own to swallow. My host Dad was there, watching, so I drank it all.
Fifteen minutes later I was hovered over the bushes, and I threw up all that red, hot tomato juice. A girl from another team saw me, and she later told me she thought I was merely smelling the flowers.
Whenever I throw up I cry a little bit, probably because it’s so miserable of an experience. I walked away from the bushes and into the one room where we lived, wanting desperately to be alone. But everyone from my team was there. I looked around at all of them and burst into bigger tears before running out of the room.
I thought about this memory last night when I was crouched by the toilet. Later, when I crawled into bed I was happy to be alone, but at the same time I wished my team was there with me. They always made the hard times less hard – even though in the moment I usually wanted to deal with things by myself.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve always been surrounded by some kind of community of friends. Except now. Now I’m surrounded by no one but my family. And I know that’s the way it’s supposed to be during this season, but it’s hard because my family has never been my community. I’ve always run away from them. But lately I’ve been trying to let them into my life, and I’ve been trying to be a part of theirs.
Last night, before I was ill, my 18-year-old sister texted me. “You awake?” she asked. “Yeah, what’s up?” I responded. I figured she wanted to ask to borrow something of mine when she came home from college. “Nothing I just miss you” was what she said. My heart melted.
I don’t doubt that the World Race will continue to haunt me when I’m in my bed late at night – that I’ll forever miss the people who were there for me during those ups and downs – but I do know now that in the morning when I get up I will be surrounded by my new community: my family.