September 24th.


September 24th.


I’m not ready to write this.

 My head and my heart are scrambled.  Nothing makes sense today. 

 I wanted to write something this week which would be light and humorous, after my three month break from writing, something where I made light of the long endless power cuts and water cuts which have been chipping away at my nerves like a chisel against stone…


 And then Nairobi. 


 This morning I read my April post ‘Here is the world’ and I cried. 

  I cried because everything I wrote in that post is still true.

  In the midst of another pointless, heinous terror attack, everything I wrote is still true.

 Only this time, it is just that bit closer to home.

 This time it feels personal. 

 This time it is my social circle that is asking ‘Do you know anybody there?’

 This time we have friends, who have lost friends.

 You see, the international community is not actually very big.   Everywhere we land and put down roots, all be them temporary roots, we make friends. And those friends have other friends, who know other friends, and “oh guess what…so and so knows so and so, in that place we used to live in…and did you hear that so and so moved to so and so…we should definitely connect them with so and so… and so on…”

 I always keep my eyes peeled in airports because we Internationals spend half our lives in airport lounges, and I always wonder who else might be passing through…

 So when News about Nairobi first broke, my first thought was, “Oh my God, who do we know there?”  

 I am not making this into my own personal drama.   I am just suddenly acutely aware of how close this feels and of how another little piece of my fabricated high security wall has just crumbled down.

 We heard this morning, that a former UN colleague here in Lilongwe was killed in the attack. 

 I read my April post this morning and I cried because I know it was so much easier to write about ‘terror and beauty’ when the terror was happening to a community I am not connected to, in a country far, far away.

  I still absolutely, fundamentally believe everything I wrote to be truth.

 There is still unfathomable beauty in peoples response. Beauty is still, in the words of Anne lamott, ‘rising up and like white blood cells pouring in to surround and heal the infection,’ but right now, today, to be honest, I am just a little less inclined to talk about the beauty.

 The terror has come too close.

 It’s a day of right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot and keep breathing.

 Focus on not being paralyzed.

 Holding the darkness in my hands, weeping with those who are grieving, crying out for Mercy and waiting for hope…

 And tonight I listened just a little more carefully to my children. And I held them just a little longer at bedtime. And I savoured their words and breathed in their smell.

 Perhaps tomorrow I will dance with them…Just because I can.


About Emily M. Bailey

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