Looking for My Young Parents: My Bangladeshi Decision


Well Bangladesh, what will it be? 

I thought long and hard about this—asking God for guidance, talking to people, weighing my options.

I've decided I will not be going any farther than the airport today.

I flew in from India early this morning to the Dhaka airport and am hanging out here all day before catching my flight out tonight. Though initially disappointed, I now feel quite content with how things have played out. If nothing else wrestling through my options and underlying motivations has been very clarifying.

My fear was that if I didn't go to Bangladesh now, I'd never go—and thus miss out on what I'm supposed to discover. I now think this is mistaken—it only means that my pilgrimage is still in progress. Instead of coming home on the 31st with all the boxes checked, it means my road back to Bangladesh will just be longer—and likely all the richer for the wait.

Instead of putting neat bookends around this past nine months of travel and growth, it means the story of this journey is still unfolding. (And what Labyrinth worth walking is straight path?) Perhaps there's a reason I need to wait on Bangladesh. It could be there are some things I need to live through and work out first. Or it could just bad timing right now—whatever the case my resolve to go only feels strengthened and confirmed.

Though the timeline has changed my intent remains the same. Someday soon I will find that Bangladeshi bus which leads me to the city where my parents lived all those years ago. The bus engine will fire to life with a gentle rumble and lurch forward as the wheels begin to roll. The humid wind will blow into my face and rustle my hair as the city goes by and slowly turns to flat, green countryside, full of people and life.

After a few hours I'll step off the bus—a lifetime from when my parents last set foot there. My footsteps now overlapping theirs, I'll walk those streets looking for my parent's twenty-something-year-old selves. Perhaps I'll catch a glimpse of their faces admist the crowds, in the markets, or passing me by on the street as I sip tea—their faces white among many brown. There they'll be—my dad's goatee helping him blend in a bit in this Muslim country, my mom with her pretty, round eyes and long brown hair concealed by a head-covering. Their young hearts open to the possibilities of tomorrow, wrestling with the tragedies of the past, while the (then) unknown future rolls ever towards them.

They should be easy to spot—they'll look an awful lot like me.

pilgrimage, travelRyan Moore