« Back To All News

Finding room for Sabbath

Finding room by Brenda Meier Kimaro

“Stick a fork in me. I’m done.” Have you ever heard that expression before? Maybe you’ve used it yourself. It means you’re tired of, or fed up with, your current situation. That was me earlier this year.

You see, I’m an introvert married to an extrovert. And we live in my husband’s native Tanzania, the most extroverted culture of which I’ve ever been a part. My husband, Kakasii, seems to know at least every third person we encounter on the street here in Arusha, one of the largest cities in Tanzania. And he has a huge family, with 28 siblings and half-siblings (yes, you read that right). That puts a lot of pressure on this introvert to engage with people all the time. And, while often enjoyable, it’s exhausting.

Professionally, I’m a writer and photographer, and I also help Kakasii with his safari business. Together, we are volunteer directors for a small school serving the children of a poor community outside of town. I’m also a mother of five, including four-year-old twins. Enough said.

Coming apart at the seams

As I neared my 45th birthday in March, I could feel myself coming apart at the seams with the demands and busyness of life in Tanzania as a wife, mother, writer and volunteer. I was distracted, short on patience, physically exhausted and mentally spent. It was time to stick a fork in me because I was most certainly done.

That extroverted husband of mine — well, he’s also incredibly thoughtful. As he saw me slipping deeper and deeper into a spiritual, mental and physical malaise, he arranged for me to take a personal retreat as a birthday gift — four days to myself at a retreat center run by Lutheran deaconesses on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Insert sigh of relief here. It was time to rest. To slow down and be quiet. To hear what God had to say to me.

Brenda Meier Kimaro lives in Arusha, Tanzania, with her husband and five children. She spent the first 20 years of her professional career serving Lutheran ministries and is now a writer, photographer and documenter of life in Tanzania at www.thejoyoflifeislove.com.

To read this and other Gather articles in their entirety, subscribe now.  As a subscriber, you can also view Gather online, as an app on your iPad, on your Android device and on your Kindle Fire. To request a free copy of the magazine, contact us.