“Your idea is unrealistic and will never work,” commented a classmate after I shared my paper with my grad school class in 2005. I wanted to build a holistic center that would address all aspects of health in a war-torn country or among those who have experienced trauma. Perhaps I should have been discouraged by the feedback, but I knew this idea was something I would continue to pursue.
words + photographs JAYME ROGERS
I moved to Turkey in 2011 to work with Iranian refugees. During those five years, I was challenged daily in my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being. I heard many stories of people who fled persecution and imprisonment, and my heart ached. Watching the refugees waiting for the resettlement process – that takes years – was devastating. Seeing children not attending school, the struggle for families to find work and shelter, and the uncertainty of timing in everything taught me so much more than empathy. I began learning the importance of enjoying the present while also looking toward the future. I witnessed the effects trauma has over how a person can respond to life and the different effects and responses to trauma. During that time, I also experienced my own trauma when caught in a riot and shot at with tear gas; as well as being present in cities during four different bomb explosions.
In 2016, I moved to Spain to focus on the refugee crisis in Europe. Soon after arriving, I began having panic attacks and debilitating flashbacks and was later diagnosed with PTSD. Often, I couldn’t work or leave my house. Airplanes and helicopters were triggers, and many flew over my apartment daily. During that time, I realized how much my identity was attached to my profession and what help I could give. Often, I was so caught up in my goals I missed the blessings right in front of me. The time of recovery has been long, hard, and painful. Loud noises still bother me. Airplanes and helicopters always bring me to attention, but no longer to panic mode. In the waiting I have made progress.
Since March, I began experiencing extreme tiredness, brain fog, and inability to focus. When hit with this debilitating tiredness that required an excessive amount of rest, I asked the question, “Why, now?”
During these months, I have begun to doubt the possibility of seeing my dream realized. In the waiting, I have been discouraged; but through Scripture I have been reminded nothing is too hard for God. The struggle is real. While learning Spanish, a concept is lost as soon as it is explained. The details from a conversation with my supervisor are lost once the conversation is over, and my bullet point notes don’t make sense. I must cancel meetings because I don’t have the energy and need to sleep. These are all my current reality. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and am working with a doctor to create a plan moving forward.
I realize, though my dream started in 2005, I needed to be molded and my character refined.
I can see God’s grace in my life and how He has changed me through my struggles. I have realized accomplishing the goal is not the only victory. I am now celebrating the smaller victories of new words being learned in Spanish, new relationships being built, and completing tasks such as picking up a package from the post office or getting a new oven installed.
I am in yet another season of waiting. While I am waiting in hope for more energy and mental clarity in my life, I also have my dream in front of me, with the hope of finally making it a reality. I realize, though my dream started in 2005, I needed to be molded and my character refined. I needed time working alongside refugees and to learn through my own traumatic experiences. It is in these experiences I have learned my limitations.
My steps in this current season of waiting are to rest, to trust God for His provision, to be thankful and mindful of the blessings of each day, to take responsibility for making lifestyle changes I need to make, and to celebrate the small victories I accomplish along the way.
I still hold on to the hope of my unrealistic idea. JR
Jayme Rogers lives with her cats, Sammy and KC, in southern Spain. She enjoys reading, watching sunrises and sunsets, hiking, and spending time with friends.
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