Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Sunday we had our CAS Food and Fun fair, another fundraising attempt for the school. My 8th grade class isn’t the most creative group, so basically it was up to me to decide what our booth would feature. I suggested spaghetti because it was simple to make and everyone here loves Western food. We also had a game, basically dodgeball, where people could have chances to try and hit my kids with balls. It was really fun. I am rarely able to enjoy my students outside of the classroom and so, this was a welcome change. I spent all afternoon in the kitchen making spaghetti sauce, but I made 60 servings and they were all gone by the end. The kids also got bored throwing balls at my students, so I challenged anyone who dared to try and hit me. So it turned into kids spending tickets and tickets just to throw balls at me. My dodge ball skills from middle school came back to me and I had so much fun! The prizes were all things that people have sent me in packages: Union memorabilia, pencils, balloons, and so much more. They were thrilled.
Overall our booth raised $13.26. So I thank you, thank you for the generous donations on your end because otherwise we would hardly raise anything. My dad reports $8,000 from home and I just want to cry realizing how much this school needs it. Thankyou.
I don’t have this all figured out. Not this, meaning Cambodia, but this, meaning life. More specifically, after the 20 years, 6 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 11 minutes I have spent on planet earth, I know surprisingly little.
Some things get continuously better the longer I am here. Others get continuously worse. I feel as though my very spirit has been carelessly torn up like paper and pieced back together with scotch tape more times than I’d like to remember. Really, how broken do I have to get before I am simply unfixable? How many counselors does it take? How many prayer meetings and spiritual retreats must I attend to feel whole? Is there a magical number of desperate prayers I need to conduct? Because I lost count months ago.

“I saw what I saw and I can’t forget it.
I heard what I heard and I can’t go back.
I know what I know and I can’t deny it.
Something on the road, cut me to the soul.
Your pain has changed me. Your dream inspires.
Your face a memory. Your hope a fire.
Your courage asks me, what I am made of and what I know of love.”

Sara Groves wrote those words. This is what I feel, she just wrote it first. Darn.
So now what? I’ve seen what I’ve seen. I’ve heard what I’ve heard.
A wise friend asked me that if I were to write a book about all my experiences here, how would I want it to end? Easy. I would want to have accomplished what I came here to do: to know God for myself and to get rid of this darn eating disorder. But the other day I realized I may have promised this year to God, but I’ve had my own agenda all along. God never promised to show himself to me just because I fled the country and I certainly haven’t recovered from the ED I tried to run from either. Instead, I have taken up depression, binging, purging, a few extra wrinkles, I have been violated, cursed at, ignored, isolated, and broken. So since complete healing seems to be out of the question for me in the 2 months I have left, a continuing journey seems like my only option.
I don’t like that this is a journey. I’m not keen on the idea of one long life of continuing struggle and pain. As much as I’d like to appear strong and willing to keep going. I’m not. I’m tired.
But since I was never asked if this was the life I wanted, I’m kinda stuck with it right now. Maybe that’s the idea. Because if we had the choice, who of us would choose the pain? Yeah, I’m not sure I will ever be the SM who says, “Yup, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!” But ask me again in 10 years and maybe I will have forgotten how miserable I was.
The great ending to this book may never be what I thought it should have been. But our shoulds and our expectations always ruin things anyway. This is where I am now.
I am on a journey I never imagined I would take. I am in a place I never thought I would be. I have seen things I hope to never see again. But I am being changed and stretched and I am ok. I am still breathing.
I can only expect so much from a 10 month excursion half-way around the world. I suppose if figuring out life was an easy 10 month process, the advertisement agencies would be all over it by now pushing an easy 7-step process with a money back guarantee.
They will, you wait. Until then I’ll just work on finishing my book.