I had time between semesters here in the US, so I decided to go back to Macedonia and visit. At the time I had told myself it was to retrieve some things I had left behind, and see some friends. As I was preparing to go, a friend emailed me and wrote, “I hope you find closure.” Closure. I had not even realized that that was what I was searching for, but the moment I landed (groggy, after 24 hours of sleepless travel) I realized that was really the purpose of my return.
My time in Macedonia last year was…weird. No, actually, it was rather traumatic, and I am only now starting to heal from much of what happened, though again, I hadn’t even realized just how much the events there had really affected me. So, to return after 6 months not even clearly understanding my feelings about my time there, I guess I was in a kind of denial, or at least, obliviousness. But when I landed and got settled, I felt different. Then I realized what it was. Peace. I felt peace being back in Macedonia, something that was rather elusive during my first stay.
I was not an employee anymore, just a visitor. None of the insane politics of the university had any hold on me. I had no stress. My sole objective was to spend time with friends, to fellowship and share and laugh and love. Even if I had seen particular administrators at the university (which I didn’t because, apparently, they had not shown up for over 5 months, much like last year), there was nothing that they could do or say that would affect me. In fact, I had rehearsed in my mind what I would say if I saw them, and though I cannot say for certain since it did not happen, I am convinced that I would have been able to shake their hands and wish them well, with full sincerity. Of course I pray for justice to be done, and for reformation at the university, but that entire situation is in God’s hands, as are the administrators. They need Christ, dearly. I pray that their hearts would be softened.
It has become rather clear to me that I will not be returning to Macedonia to work. The university in the capital has dragged its feet, which in a culture of indirect communication, means no way. I am ready for something new.
As I said goodbye to one of my friends, he said, “Gosh, I don’t know if I’ll see you again. Well, I’ll at least see you in heaven.” Though from an earthly standpoint this is rather sad, not seeing friends who have become so dear to my heart, eternity is a loooooong time and will more than make up for whatever separation we have now.
On the way home, I watched the movie Now You See Me. Think The Italian Job style heist movie but with illusionists and stage magic. Early on in the film, the four magicians stand outside an apartment, having been summoned there by a mysterious source. Three of them have been standing there for some time when the fourth one comes up to try the door. “It’s locked,” the other three say. The fourth pulls out his picks and says, “There is no such thing as a locked door.” While my door to Macedonia is closed at present, I don’t believe it is locked. I may not live or work there again, but that does not sever my ties there.
My Lord walked through walls a couple times. He didn’t even need to pick the locks.