(Began writing on July 8.)
A year ago I spent a long weekend in Swaziland, breaking up with the man I had been dating for over a year. We had actually broken up over the phone a few weeks earlier, having amazingly and by God´s grace, come to that decision mutually. The Swaziland trip had been in the works for awhile, and we decided to go ahead with it so we could say good-bye in person since we lived half a country apart.
Needless to say, the trip was bittersweet. Swaziland itself was beautiful and the trip was a much-needed break for both of us. But looming over us the whole time was the hard reality that it was our last African adventure together, that our good-bye at the airport, which we were so accustomed to in our long-distance relationship, would be the final one.
Flying into Beira yesterday felt very much like flying to Maputo a year ago to make that Swazi trip. I´m in Beira now so that Mozambique and I can break up. We did it over email eight months ago, but we thought it would be best to say good-bye in person.
When a dating relationship comes to an end, disappointment feels so strong because there´s always that hope that the relationship will last. We don´t enter relationships on a one- or two-year contract, preparing ourselves for the end date.
Finding out I couldn´t return to Mozambique was not a disappointment because I was necessarily called specifically to this country or a people group here. Those who´ve followed my journey know it wasn´t easy or amazing here. I didn´t love Mozambique or Mozambicans more than I would have loved any other people group. But I was committed long term, which made the difference. Sure I had signed an initial 18-month contract but always with the intention of and knowledge that I could extend. I had hopes for and envisioned a future beyond the 18 months.
So I´m going through my days loving the comfort and familiarity of this place, speaking Portuguese, surprising friends and colleagues with my unannounced visit, celebrating marriages and babies´births from the last year, drinking way too much Coke, and hoping I´ll have at least one afternoon to lie on the beach. But every morning I wake up knowing I´m one day closer to that final departure. I sit on the chapas and wander through town with an ache in my chest knowing I have to say good-bye.