I was recently at a birthday party for a really good friend of mine and was talking with two friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. We’d been catching up for a bit, I was asking questions about family, children, life etc. when one of them said, ‘What about you? You lived in Africa for almost a year since I saw you last, but you haven’t mentioned it. What’s up with that?’
I had to tell her that it wasn’t until we returned to Canada and got to hang out with our friends again that I realized how much I had missed from their lives during our absence. Most of my communication with people had been mass Facebook posts about what I was doing. I could probably count on one hand how many personal emails I’d written in 10 months. And I was ashamed. I realized that I did not want to be that person who just talks about themselves, you know the type. I love my friends deeply and I missed them while I was away, but I don’t know if they knew it. I’d like to think so. So I just wanted to catch up with them, to hear about their past year and if they wanted to hear about Africa and what I was doing there, they’d have to ask me about it.
One day I was working in one of the new chicken barns at Eden Children’s Village and had been having a bit of a down week. This particular day nothing seemed to be going right. The drill bit broke. I was making a mess out of the metal I was trying to weld. It stunk of chicken feces and of course I was hot. I was getting frustrated and angry. Then my phone beeped to let me know I just received an email, apparently I was in wifi range. It was a message from one of my good buddies from Canada. I don’t remember what he said, it didn’t matter, but I cried. It felt so awesome to be thought of enough that he took the time to email me. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
So even though I could talk ad infinitum (How’s that for remembering some of my university Latin?) about Africa and what we were doing there and our plans for our future there, I want to learn to shut up and listen more. I want my friends to know that I missed them, that they are important to me, that I love them.