an old friend, fear

i am having a difficult time deciding what to do about seeing a former student tomorrow…

on the one hand,
i wonder if
i am just nervous
about going out into a part of kampala that i do not know very well
and getting lost,
and being embarrassed.
i am afraid to get back after dark.
or actually traveling alone somewhere i haven’t been before in kampala…


i think that perhaps i am afraid of what she has to say. i am afraid that she is going to ask me for money, money that i don’t have to give her.

            and i am afraid that i don’t really know her like i thought i did.
                        and maybe this is a part of having a cross-cultural friendship…living in this tension of unknowing and                                           nervousness…not knowing what to expect, or even who to ask what can/should be expected in such a                                  situation.

                        i am afraid to be used. i am afraid to be hurt.

                        i am afraid to hurt her.
                        i am afraid to not be who maybe she thinks that i am.
                        i am afraid to be misunderstood, and even more so, to misunderstand.

                                    i am afraid.
                                                            i. am. afraid.

i have been told that something in friendship that i do well is to be vulnerable with my friends, allowing them to not only be vulnerable with me, but also building that sense of trust…or the breaking down of the walls/barriers that we put up in relationships or in life until someone who we let in breaks down part of that wall. (who when we give away a part of that wall.)
            well, frankly, i feel like i was too vulnerable this past year. and spend too much time being frustrated, or sad, or feeling trampled on. and the pain of this year, and the awkwardness that came with that still makes me feel  really tired.

                     even though, in looking back, i see the beautiful things that came from this year. newfound friends, renewed friendships and some beautiful shared moments of brokenness and togetherness–it seems… too early?

and so i feel guilty about thinking about this potential reunion quite so much.
            because i do love her dearly and like a sister.
            and i do want to do the hard work of being a good friend and sister to/with gloria.
            and i do want to work at this cross-cultural friendship, not because its cross-cultural, but because she’s her.


            am i being selfish?
            is that a good thing? 
              (i suppose this question presupposes that i do feel like i am being selfish. so, take that for what you will.)

            is that a bad thing?
                        (perhaps i am just trying to rationalize it not being selfish so i do not have to feel guilty?)

i didn’t learn this in seminary.
i didn’t learn this doing a psychology degree.
i didn’t learn this in akron orientation.
and thus far i haven’t learned it in uganda.

(granted, i also haven’t asked anyone about this. or talked with anyone about this. with the exception of telling a country rep that i was hoping that this student wouldn’t be one like that…but then shrugging my shoulders and walking away… missed opportunity? yes. i know.

someone hand me the answer.
someone tell me what to do.
and if you would, please make it the answer i want to hear.


2 thoughts on “an old friend, fear

  1. Thera, you gave me your blog address, so i think you’re ok with my reading what you write, but are you ok with my commenting in the presence of other readers? i am your friend–at least I hope you think that, since I think of you as a friend, but i also have another role–should i write to you as a private email only? or is this ok?

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