I am not an island. I was hardwired for relationships. I was built to love and be loved. I was created for intimacy. I never knew that as much as I do right now.
This past year has been one that's reinforced that truth in my heart. I've lived in Africa for ten years, and most of that time all of my close friends lived an ocean away. This past year I was spoiled to have a few at arm's length (on both sides of the ocean).
In some ways I think I was better off not knowing what I've been missing out on all these years. But at the same time, I can't imagine how hollow I'd be without all the experiences of the past twelve months. Even with the sadness of their endings, I wouldn't trade those times with friends for anything in the world. I am a better person as a result of them. I needed to know---really know---that it's okay for me to need people and to desire connectedness. I think, on some level, I thought it was wrong. Or not for me. Or something I had to sacrifice in order to be a missionary.
But now I know the truth. And my life is richer for it, with all its joys and heartaches.
And now, as I sit in an airport having just said goodbye again, my heart feels swollen. And I wonder if this is what people with hearts that are too large for their chests feel like.