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100_0121-5705006, 1845248, 1623185279, 20210608204759, 08, 06, 2021

Beautiful, Peaceful- This is My Uganda

Yesterday, a place I love was attacked. Yesterday, people of all nationalities were killed while watching the World Cup Finals in Kampala, Uganda. One of the places that was bombed was a place I know well. In 2008, I sat in that very same rugby club and watched the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics with people from all over the world. Everyone cheered as their respective nations walked around the stadium and I will always remember how happy I felt at that moment. They served good food, they had comfy couches, everyone who came there had a smile on their face. That night in Kamapala, Uganda at the rubgy club was one of my happiest. And now that place is gone. In the last ten  minutes of a thrilling match the world split apart for those in my favorite rugby club as well as those at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant.

I don’t understand this kind of disrespect for human life. I simply can’t comprehend this type of hate. Honestly, at this point I don’t care who perpetrated this attack and why- it won’t change what has already been done. Later, I will wonder and speculate. Today, however, I just want to remember that place as it was and send all my thoughts and prayers to those who are in hospital recovering and the families of those 74 who will never recover. Today, the attackers will not occupy my mind- they don’t deserve first thoughts- first thoughts are reserved for those whose pleasant and happy night was brought to an abrupt and violent end.

One of my favorite Ugandan hang-outs is gone but I won’t ever forget the way it was. My memories will not be tarnished by hatred. I will not be afraid to travel back to the place I love, the place where I have found some of my most joyful moments and experiences. Despite last nights events, Uganda will remain in my mind as one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited. A place where I not only witnessed peace, but where I found my own.

It has become apparent to me, in the past couple of weeks, that my life is a series of random events that are seemingly unconnected and unrelated to one another, and yet they make up this bizarre and typically pleasant life of mine. My paths are not really paths. The road isn’t a road at all.

I had a devastation a few days ago. A complete and total devastation that resulted in two days of crying and a box of donuts. And then, on the third day I was somehow saved quite unexpectedly. It hasn’t necessarily lessened my sadness over what happened before, but it has acted like a balm on my heart and soul. I feel so unusual. Happy and sad at the same time- I’ve never experienced that. It’s surreal but a soft satisfying kind of feeling. If it was a color it would be lavender.  If it was a sensation I would say it was like hiking in a hot and humid forest all day and then slipping into a cool and clean pond of water- completely silent and still but full of life.

I feel like I’m looking at my life in a completely different way and yet it’s the same. I can see all the not really paths and not really roads and they all connect but in unexpected and unique ways. In my imagination I picture them as the dirt roads and paths I loved so much in Uganda (and these certainly qualify as not really paths and not really roads). Somehow, I love it.

Oh! I also wanted to say that I think everyone should listen to the following bands because their music is sublime and sees me through life’s devastations and joys.

Marina and the Diamonds.

Florence and the Machine.

Band of Horses.

The Temper Trap.

And lately it feels as if it is going to beat out of my chest. There is something new, something happening, and I’m not sure what it is. I feel on the verge of something- something incredible and life changing and I haven’t the slightest as to what it could be. Every night I lay in bed and think about what I’m feeling, try to put it into words, but I can’t quite grasp the right ones. Anticipation, hope, bliss, wonder, expectancy…none of these words encompass what I feel, but all of them comprise what I feel. It’s so difficult to explain, yet I want to explain it- feel as if I have to find a way to explain it.

The most baffling part of this is that my life is still a bit of a mess. Things are coming together but loosely. And I’m happy. And I’m peaceful. And I’m this other thing that I can’t find a word for- it’s something like pounding heart, electric air, calm, breathing deeply, huge smile, confidence, and love. Lots of love for everything and everyone, and I feel like forgiving, like asking forgiveness and giving forgiveness, and freedom.

It’s like a total change in philosophy, but not quite that. Sort of similar to wearing dark glasses for years and then on a bright beautiful sunny day taking them off and seeing the brilliance but not being blinded by it. Maybe I’m taking my own advice- maybe I’m listening to myself. I have always been an optimist for everyone but myself until now. Why can’t good lovely things happen to me? They can. I never really thought that until recently. Even though loads of wonderful things have happened to me in my life for some reason I never really believed that they could or would happen again. But I think they will. And bad things will happen too, but I think that’s ok.

My heart’s a drummer.

So, it’s Ash Wednesday and therefore the first day of my 40 day period of self-denial. This year I am focusing on the things that I indulge in that are bad for me. Soda, Chips, and Perez Hilton.

Originally I was just going to go without soda and Perez Hilton but my Dad pointed out to me that he thinks I eat chips too often- so there you go. Lately, I have to admit I have  been eating incredibly poorly and drinking several diet cokes a day. I don’t know why that has been the case but it has and so I’m putting a stop to it. Lent provides the perfect way to do that.

Perez Hilton. I check his website many times a day, craving that latest bit of celebrity gossip. I am so ashamed! What does this contribute to my life? What do I gain from this? The answer to both questions is nothing. I could be doing so many other more productive things. Also, he is pretty mean to some of these celebritites- harsh and judgmental and unforgiving. Why add that negativity to my day? Honestly, I’m not sure how I got started on reading his site but it’s over now. Not only am I giving this up for Lent, I am giving it up for good.

So, all this makes me think about self-denial and how something that sounds so bleak can actually be something incredibly joyous. How in denying myself I am actually making myself a healthier and happier person. Also, that next time maybe I shouldn’t wait for Lent to cut out the toxins in my life.

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