The first night in Tanzania we stayed in Dar es Salaam. I was rooming with Pastor Horacio of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oakdale. He had also been at Shepherd of the Hills in the past, so I knew him before the trip. I’m sure Horacio became tired of me unpacking and realizing something else I had forgotten. “Oh no, I forgot to bring any soap.” “Oh no, I forgot to pack pajamas.” “Oh no, I forgot the charger for my cell phone.” “Oh no, I forgot….” There were many things I had been meaning to pack and didn’t end up putting in my bags.
I had been through it before. It was a symptom of grief. My Dad’s death and funeral were about two weeks before we left for Tanzania. I thought I was handling it fairly well. I was functioning and getting ready for the trip. But my mind wasn’t always as focused as it should have been. It was after the unpacking that I figured out what was going on.
I understood it because I had been through it after Debbie had passed away. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be go into the bathroom upstairs to get the dirty clothes out of the laundry hamper only to find myself in the basement a half hour later looking for a screwdriver while the laundry was still upstairs. There were many times like that where I would be working on something and become distracted by something else that needed to be done. So, I would immediately move to the other task with the original task completely out of mind for a time.
Lack of focus, absent mindedness, forgetfulness, inability to complete tasks. I had them all. Everyone’s grief journey is different. This doesn’t happen to everyone. But it is a common symptom of grief.
But, back in Tanzania. There I was understanding what had happened but without a charger for my cell phone. I wasn’t planning on making calls; in fact, I left the phone in airplane mode the entire time I was in Tanzania. But it was going to be my camera for the trip. As I stood on the verge of panic, a cooler head rescued me. Horacio asked if I had a USB cable for the phone. When I said yes, he pointed out that I could plug that into my Chromebook and charge it that way.
I was relieved; Pastor Horacio had saved me. I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, he is in the business of saving people.
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