A spectacularly ordinary sunrise

It’s very hot and sticky in Uganda. I can’t remember that the dry and hot season started so early last year. It’s also the first Advent Sunday. (For those of you, who have no clue what that is… It’s a church thing, kind of a countdown to Christmas.) Gotta admit that it’s a little difficult to look forward to Christmas when you are in shorts and slippers, but hey Jesus is coming soon! And that always makes me happy. So because the holiday season is almost here, a little update from my side because I had promised to do a few more regular write-ups on my life. The last one wasn’t that cheerful, so I hope this one will be a little better.

So when I wrote the last update at the beginning of October, I ended the blog with the fun fact that I was going to climb a mountain. Well, let’s just dive into more crappy stuff that I spilled out in that blog. It didn’t happen.

So by mid-October, I had worked over 6 months without any leave days. Except for 1 that I spent on a job interview, so that doesn’t really count. I was tired. My body was tired. My soul was probably the most tired. What typically happens when your immune system and energy get low, is that you get some sort of illness. And so did I. A nasty bacterial infection. I’ll spare you the messy details.

Anyways, it happened the week before I was finally going to have a week off and climb a mountain with some friends. On Friday morning during one of many doctor’s appointments that week, she said: “please take a week off from work, cause you gotta rest, but there’s no way you are going to climb a mountain. 4 days without hygiene. Hell no.” (paraphrasing mine).

Thank God for friends that are flexible and willing to go with the flow. Instead, we got into my car and just decided to drive somewhere and then at the end of the day decide where we would sleep. Turned out to be a community campsite with lots of crazy monkeys. Awesome. There was also chill lions next to the car, spectacular Rwenzori views,  5 am tent packing in the rain, double rainbows, and good food involved. But the best thing about it all for me was waking up at 6 and watching the sunrise.

“Don’t try to make the road shorter, but travel it in such a way that every action leaves the land more fertile and the landscape more beautiful.”

– Paulo Coelho

Let me paint the picture for you. We were sleeping in an amazing lodge on the edge of Kibale Forest. On the left nothing but green hills with trees. Rangers are walking around at night to make sure the bush elephants don’t enter the lodge area. On the right the south side of the Rwenzori mountains and then somewhere in between you could see the lakes around Queen Elizabeth National Park. So I woke up at 6. I grabbed the bed sheets and pillows from my bed, wrapped myself in them and sat in a chair on the tiny porch in front of the cutest little house. As I am seeing the first bit of orange and purple appear in the east, the birds just start chirping and signing into the morning. The clouds move super fast in the sky, even though it isn’t really that windy where I am sitting and I am just amazed by the overwhelming beauty of a new morning. The moment that the sun, a tiny red ball pops up from behind one of the tiny hills far away, I feel my eyes blur up. I cried watching the sun rise higher and higher until it disappears behind the clouds again. The sky turns from orange to purple to pink back to orange to yellow and then blue’ish. I sat there for at least 2 hours or so. Not thinking about the craziness of the past few months or the busyness of the next few months. It was just that moment.

There were a lot of other thoughts, but I kind of want to keep those for myself. Or at least for a selected few people in my life. It’s become harder again to share everything about my life, now that I don’t write daily anymore. But let me leave you with this. One of the lessons from my sunrise moment was a reminder to merge the ordinary and the spectacular. The ordinary of an everyday sunrise, the spectacular of watching it from one of the most beautiful places on earth. I tend to be in my head a lot. Especially when I am busy. I get anxious, stressed and think about all the things I have to do, but can’t get done for some reason. To take it step by step, to look for wonder in it all, helps me to calm down. Like today, the ordinary Sunday morning worship in church and the spectacular sound of only voices carrying heavily through space. Or last weekend, the ordinary of cooking a meal, the spectacular of getting to share it with 12 hungry teenagers that just got back safely from sailing on the lake for an afternoon.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

– Corrie ten Boom

That’s what I hope this new Christmas season will bring you, the ordinary merged with the spectacular. The unknown with the known. The ordinary of the familiar songs on the radio or in the car merged with the spectacular of going home, where ever in the world that may be. The ordinary of food and family merged with renewed connections and stronger relationships. The ordinary of the lights merged with the hope of Jesus being the true Light in your life.

Where ever you are, no matter what you are feeling or going through,  I wish you, from the bottom of my heart a wonderful and blessed holiday season.



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