Naleszniki

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I can say with much enthusiasm, I have endured a Polish Winter. For an extensive amount of time– five months to be more clear — I have buried my face beneath my scarves and layered wool socks under my boots. Now, however, a light jacket suffices. Blessings.

Before I get caught up babbling about the weather, I should remind myself I am at an internet café and I am short on time. For that very reason, keeping up with blogging has proven difficult. I am more than half way through my mission, yet I have posted a mere four times.

Of those entries, all have showcased the extreme highs and lows of euphoric love, the questioning of self, and the heaviness of burdens. I keep wondering when I will decide to write something less dramatic and more telling of the mundane, lighthearted, and everyday. But I’ve decided I’d rather just say it like I feel it in the moment, raw, honest, and yes, at times with some strong feels.

After all, you don’t come to this blog to read a highly censored, surface level, play-by-play, of a teenage girl’s life. And if you did.. then this just got awkward.

Anywho

To celebrate my halfway mark of being a missionary, my companion and I found a café and started to reminisce. I was eating some naleszniki and sipping cinnamon tea (surprise, I am using food to set the scene, I am very much an unchanging woman) when it occurred to me.

I love my mission.

It would seem inconceivable and slightly masochistic to enjoy the collection of rejection, heartache, sadness, and exhaustion that a mission so easily supplies. Though, unlike a victim, I am in control of the perspective I hold in regards to my mission, sometimes I feel like the weight of the world and her needy cousin are flung on my rather petite shoulders. How can one fathom, let alone take pleasure in, such an experience?

It’s a simple story: The people. These crazy, stubborn, hard to love Poles cracked open my heart and demanded they stay.

Marta, Gosia, Stanisław, Monika, Jadwiga, Klaudia, Wioleta, Anna, łukasz, Helina, Martin: They are my mission. And if I were to recall, my mission has effectively broken my heart.

To overuse cliché imagery, I’d like you to picture a rather torn, beaten, and cracked anatomically correct heart. That right there would be an accurate depiction of me the past 10 months.

Yet, my heart, if anything, is far from emaciated. Despite the weathered bits, it is full; I’d argue it’s even quite plump.

Due to my cracks and brokenness these people were invited in, given a place to stay, and a time to rest. They found their way through. Had my heart already been full, sealed, and strong, I doubt it would have been the same. That humanity I always seem to talk about was thrown front and center; it made it easy for others to do the same.

I wish to write stories of our conversations, I’d hope my retelling could accurately give a glimpse into the reasons they made an impression on my mere twenty year old self.

However, Stanisław’s bucket list, Monika’s Catholic chapel heart-to-heart, Jadwiga’s smile when I sing Elvis, and Marta’s goosebumps as we talked about God all with come out flat compared to their realife giggling, troubled and very much human selves.
Each carry with them a storyline of experiences and their own taste of heartbreak. They’ve all been let down and hold their reservations to the understanding of a loving God, yet it never stops them from searching. These people are far too real to ever become characters on my blog. For that reason, I’ll put this in the vaguest, yet most sincere way I can.

I am the luckiest woman in the world to have loved these people. I don’t ever regret caring, trying, or loving anyone, because I have been profoundly changed by it. I now know what it means to have a broken heart — but very much a changed heart.

Siostra Bak tag

Warsaw, Poland

PicMonkey Collage nauszniki

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