Monday, January 29, 2007

Diving Deep

"You're still around?" This is probably the phrase I get greeted with most nowadays. I was supposed to have returned to California last week and to Kenya at the end of this month.

"I know," I respond every time. "I get to extend my stay a little. I'll go home in March."

The response is a slight frown, for the most part, as in, "Tell me more."

For one, there's more fundraising to be done. But more importantly, I need to "stay up for some air" right now. Let me explain.

I'm a scuba diver. When you dive, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind.
  • You dive with a buddy. You and your buddy check each others' dive gear before going under water. And while diving, you always keep your eye on your buddy so you know they're doing OK.
  • You also keep an eye on your gauges. You need to know how much air you have left, how deep you are, when you need to start your ascent to the surface since you can only stay under water for a certain period of time (depending on how deep you've dived, and how many consecutive dives you've done.)
If you don't stick to the basic rules of diving, you risk hurting yourself, even dying. In fact, when you don't pay attention and dive too deep, your mind gets so confused that it's easy to swim downward thinking you're heading to the surface. And the deeper you go, the faster you swim downward!

This past year in Kenya has, in some ways, been like a bad dive. Yes, I experienced amazing things, like you would on an amazing dive! But I broke some of the basic rules.
  • I didn't have a buddy. It doesn't mean I need to be married before I can return to Kenya. :) But I need community in Kenya. I need friends with whom I can share the journey. And so there will be some changes in the way I do life in Kenya. (I'll tell more about that when I return.)
  • I need to figure out ways to get away more often, to catch my breath, if you will. My reality in Kenya is that since I don't have friends, I don't get away and relax much. Typically, when I do get away, it's still very much work-related.
So that's why I'm still around. The extended time in Iowa is like being in a recompression chamber, if you will. Except, in my case, I don't have actual decompression sickness. It's emotional decompression sickness, if you will, or simply mild depression.

It's been a steep learning curve for me. I've not dealt with depression before. But as I've been sharing with others, I've been amazed how many people deal with this condition, including many, many missionaries. I've grown to appreciate the blessing of talking with a good, Christian counselor.

I am eager to go home to Kenya, but on recommendation of my counselor, I'll stay a while longer as to be sure that when I do return, I'd be well enough to stay on, that I don't burn out in just a few months.

Until then, I get to do work from Iowa. And in the meantime, I appreciate your prayers. And your support.

My time in the US has been eye-opening. Sobering. Humbling. Healing.

God only knows why he's allowing this season in my life. I won't brag about it. There's nothing glorious about it. But I also won't hide it. I'd rather be authentic about it and allow God to use it in whatever ways he desires. It's not been an easy journey. Nor a fun one. But, like I've said, it's been eye-opening. And I know that it's part of God's journey with my life.

I'm learning much about who He is, about who I am and who I'm not.

I'm looking forward to being able to look back on this season and seeing how it all worked out!


  1. I do not know you except from this blog, but when you get back to Kenya and you happen to be in or around Nakuru you are most welcome to hang with our family.

  2. Johnny, I hope to meet your family sometime in Nakuru. I drive through Nakuru whenever I drive to Nairobi, of course. E-mail me so I know how to connect with you. You can reach me at adelebooysen at yahoo dot com