Empty Room / by Joshua P Jacks

I am sitting in my empty living room and can’t help to think that it seems just like yesterday I walked through those doors. I was scared and anxious and had no clue what life would be like here and if I would even make it. There were many good and bad things that happened during our first term here. I have learned more about life and struggles and joys and memories and loss than ever. I have few regrets because I have grown to realize sometimes the mistakes are just part of the journey and I wouldn’t be able to grow if I didn’t mess up. I think about the transition into the states, I thought I would be so excited to go back. Truthfully, I am not. I want to stay. Josh had some guys come to help move all the big furniture and as I watched them walk through the door, there were many girls that came with him. I was so pleased as I just sat there and listened to them talk. Although I didn’t understand many words they were saying my heart was already missing times like these. As the neighborhood kids came in to play, I was once again confused as to why I pushed them away after my daddy passed away. As I watched them make Noah laugh and pick out toys to take home, my heart drew comfort from their presence.

Our house had 15 people sitting on the floor eating fried rice and minced deer meat and leaves. Tears grew in my eyes as I realized I have started to become more Lao than I realized. How much I enjoy and draw strength from sitting with my lao friends and sharing a meal together. How I desire to be more like lao culture than ever before. These people I was sharing a meal with have walked with Josh, Noah, and I this past year and a half. My heart was so full of love, I wish I could only express it enough to do it justice as to how much I truly care for each one of them.

Sure there are many things I would do differently. Many more hugs and smiles and “I love you’s” I would pass out. But there is just something completely priceless about a person who allows you into their culture, heart, and lives with no strings attached. They love in such a genuine way it makes my heart so sad that I will have to part from their love for a year.  So I end where I have started. Sitting in an empty room wondering what tomorrow will look like.