A Pebble in A Pond

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when people back home ask what peace corps is really like…

on October 4, 2012

when people back home ask what peace corps is really like…

 

 

As I lay on my soft pillow and pull the blankets over my body, I pop up, unable to sleep.

This time a year ago, I was in the hospital. My sister was about to give birth and I couldn’t call home. I didn’t want to stress out my family, the focus needed to be on my sister, the health of the bay.  I remember the realness of making the decision to keep something from my parents. After several hospital visits and tests over the course of a year, I feared this was the time that they would finally know what was wrong with me.

Waiting in the hospital bed for answers fearing the unknown.

Answers.

We want them.

Immediately.

Without hesitation.

But the answers never came, they never really came at all.

Even the doctors/nutritionists’ in America are still stunned about what is occurring with my body. Every so often I feel completely healed and then a week like today hits where my energy is anything but normal. I think I feel healed when I’m 100% happy. My happiness overpowers the exhaustion. But sometimes happiness is not enough.

Some people suffer externally. You can see their wounds, their pain, their journey.

My suffering is internal. Cause without reason. My personality screams happiness, so often people forget the battle that I’m facing. The one that won’t end. It’s easy to hide the things you don’t want to face.

People often ask me if the Peace Corps was worth it? Would I do it again if I knew my body would react the way that it has?

I don’t think that anyone knowingly would harm themselves physically; knowing that my recovery would consume my thoughts and actions daily against a fight that doesn’t necessarily have a name is unrelenting. A vicious cycle of attitude over reality. I wouldn’t choose that. However, it’s not all bad.

Laying in that hospital I missed things like getting to be there when my nephew was born or missing the opportunity to be in a friend’s wedding. However the things I missed, also became the things I gained.

Perspective.

The Peace Corps gave me the most valuable gifts of life: appreciation, respect and an ability to love deeper, to see with my heart. These are things that we think we already have. I don’t think people go into jobs, educational pursuits or service seeking a deeper need to appreciate a hot shower. However, these simple things are the ones we all need the most work on.

My biggest joy comes from the laughter of a 1 year old. Before the Peace Corps I would have been too busy serving other families instead of serving the family that I call mine. I think that Peace Corps volunteers have a huge heart to serve, sometimes we miss serving the people who need us most, our families. Until I got home, I didn’t realize the sacrifice my family had made in order to let me go.

If you are reading this as a parent of a PCV, I commend you on your ability to allow your child to pursue their dreams. Letting go isn’t easy, but coming back is something that will never be the same.

If you are reading this and a current PCV, hang in there. Your community, your fellow PCV’s might not always see your struggles, but I promise you there is something to gain out of it. Struggles make us stronger.

If you are a PCV reading this who is currently in the hospital, congrats for having internet access! Let your family know you’re okay (you can never tell them too many times) and count how many bugs are on the ceiling. It makes for good stories later and passes the time. Haha.

To the perspective PCV’s, you might go into Peace Corps thinking that you are going to change the world, but the person you might be changing is into a better version of yourself.

At the end of every day I have something to be grateful for, not just the pillows under my head or internet access to write this, but that who I am right now wouldn’t be in existence without the suffering. I appreciate things like energy, being up able to stay up all day and completing a workday without feeling like I need a nap. I appreciate life, living and the company of friends and family that God blessed me with.

I pray for all the PCV’s who have been Med Sep’d and fought a battle that no one else could see, that each of you can find strength in your weakness and see that  while our journeys didn’t last as long as we thought they would doesn’t mean they ended. Keep growing.

Thanks for reading,

Lysette

 

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One response to “when people back home ask what peace corps is really like…

  1. Tensie Davis says:

    So very grateful you are HOME…There’s no place like home! Through all your trials, we have all grown, appreciated all that life has allowed us to share. Your strength and attitude give you the will to pull through this situation and choose to succeed! We are so very proud of your efforts and the beautiful lady you are.
    Welcome home all PC’ers, Welcome HOME! GOD Bless you all and remind you that we are so grateful to have you back!

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