That's the only word that I can find to describe the last week spent here in Zambia.
There are many moments of absolute joy,
like when a baby that I have never seen smile lets out a laugh.
Even joy just watching their bellies grow and hold 100ml of formula instead of 25.
Joy in having our GEMS staff over for dinner and baking them a chocolate cake from scratch.
Picking flowers out of our garden and putting them in pitchers in our kitchen.
Watching women help bake and eat banana bread for the first time.
Learning a new phrase in Nyanja and listening to the people laugh at the muzungu speaking their tribal language.
Being sold eggs at the "white man's price" and handing over the asking price plus a little extra.
Lonnie, the lizard in our bathroom that is always hanging out directly over the toilet when I have to go.
Actually pausing to weigh our options when we're in the street and a minibus is coming....the hesitation while we decide whether to remain in the road or brave the puddle on the side of it, not knowing how deep it might be...then jumping at the last second.
All of these things are what bring me lightness of heart when everything around me is so real and so sharp that it could cut me deep, just too deep.
The heavy things...
The two children who ran away from My Father's House Orphan Homes in Chongwe, back to their abusive mother.
The baby of that same family that was still young enough to be brought to The House of Moses, escaping the razor blades its mother used to take out her pain.
That mother, who in her past was taken to a holding cell by the police when she was found out walking after dark. Her cellmate was a pornographer. He forced her to have sex with a dog while he filmed it.
Abuse is rarely simple.
Maggie, my sister, who lives in two rooms of a burned down house with her husband and four children.
Babies being left in gutters only to be drug out into the street by dogs and then run over by minibuses.
Catherine, who can't sleep at night because people throw rocks on her roof. They found out her husband is unfaithful and somehow they want to punish her?
Feel that weight. Let it sink into your shoulders. And then remember there is joy.
For while we are in this tent,
we groan and are burdened,
because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed
with our heavenly dwelling,
so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life...
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us he Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5