Like I said earlier, I have had the worst night’s sleep. I lie awake and here are just a few of the thoughts I have running around my head. Note, the darker ones I’m leaving out. They would make Stephen King throw up in the kitchen. These are the lighter ones and they are 100% true.
- I should beg for my old job back. They haven’t hired my replacement. I’ll work for 40% less.
- I’m going to wind up on my parents’ couch/old room. I’m almost 40.
- How fast can I get out of here? I mean, if I sock someone in the nose, they have to send me back, right?
- (Replaying all the goodbyes I said before I left to the soundtrack of “Everybody Hurts” by REM or anything by Sarah McLaughlin.) Not kidding.
- If I leave early, I will have to explain over and over what happened. I’d rather just move to Montana and keep it quiet. Maybe I can be a fry cook.
- How much money will I have in the bank if I leave right now? Oooooo, that isn’t enough. I’ll be homeless.
- I am a failure. I am a failure. I am a failure. You made a horrible mistake. You have shipwrecked your life and your friends are all laughing at you. You’ll never get a job back in the States.
- No one will take you in. Maybe your parents.
- You are worthless here.
- God is absent. I am forgotten.
Now, I know these are lies. I get that now. Right now I’m in a coherent, clear state. It’s sunny out. I’ve showered and dressed with a couple of cups of coffee running through my veins. But when I’m struggling to sleep, when all I can do is toss and turn, this voice comes alive in my head and my chest burns. It repeats over and over these horrible things. So soon I will be taking on the task of memorizing and writing out the Psalms. I need to somehow combat it.
I have to ask you though, my voice, my dark passenger right now comes at a shout, a deafening yell. But I bet underneath it all there is a dark passenger in all of us. Whispering. Telling us we are a failure.We are no good.
But is that true? Is that what our Father would say to us?
Ask God to kill that voice. Because when you are at your weakest, it will grow and grow.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING
I’d rather ride in a convoy with my Kevlar helmet on (and the chin strap still isn’t right) and my vest and drive down open roads than lie awake at night in my bunk and feel the minutes tick by.
So one day I quit my job and moved to Afghanistan.
I loved my job but I was burning out on it; I needed a break. I needed to hit the reboot on my life. Not that my life had crashed, but everything was just grinding down. My life was good; I had a good job that provided a lot; I had respect from colleagues and I had friends and a great church. I lived in San Diego for Pete’s sake and hadn’t shoveled snow in 8 years.
So a friend mentioned this job, working and training on radiation trucks in Afghanistan for one year. I’d travel from base to base. Have a lot of downtime.
And I said yes. Did I think it all the way through? No. No I did not. I was not prepared for the isolation, the crippling loneliness and the dark nights of the soul, but I’m getting better here on Day 5. I’ve learned quite quickly to depend on my faith and I have a new love and respect for Facebook and Skype. Let me tell you.
Friends have asked, “Are you afraid?” Simply, yes. Yes, I’m afraid. But I’m not really afraid of mortars and suicide bombers (those are REAL by the way. REAL.) I’m not. I’m afraid that I will fail in this journey, that I will punch my ticket way too early and head home hanging my head down and shame. I’ll be unemployed; I’ll wind up on someone’s couch wondering how I took a stupid idea and killed a great part of my life.
I’m still struggling to figure out the radiation trucks. I’m struggling to fill my time and conquer my jet lag. Every day has been a struggle of mammoth proportion.
But I said yes. I moved out of my very comfortable apartment. I got on the plane and filled out more paperwork than you can imagine.
I’m seeking out potential friends like a jackal looking for a wounded gazelle because I know that without community, without friendship, my heart wilts.
So this blog will be about my adventures and thoughts. People here and over in the States who’ve inspired me to be here and stay here.
Pray for this man as learns to be brave.