The first time you go to Afghanistan, people think you are crazy.
The second time, they consider you heroic.
The third time, you are disciplined and committed
The fourth time, it confirms that you are, in fact, crazy.
Interesting the process of getting ready to go back. I tried to explain it in the last post: it is about a relationship we have formed, or that has formed around us. We can abandon that, but it would be like abandoning a child.
Does anyone understand that? I suppose parents understand loving a child, but I suspect most people we know find it hard to understand that we have come to love Afghanistan in that way. No matter. As I said, I am not really out to convince anyone. In the early times, yes, I was truly evangelistic for Afghanistan. Lots of compelling words and energy for not much result: I spoke with passion to any one, any group, any place who asked. Conferences, camps, Rotary clubs, radio. It earned us lots of warmth and praise, but I started to feel like I was television for people: entertainment, not engagement. And no one joined in, anyway.
Now, my response is less elaborate: If you like what we are doing in Afghanistan, join us. If you can’t join us, give us money to do the work. And if you are a person of faith, pray for the country, for us, for peace. If you can’t or won’t do any of these things, then don’t let yourself off the hook with gushing sentiments. We don’t want praise, we want company.