Constant movement is my natural state. I feel quite normal busy, running, talking, buzzing. The thing is I need to remind myself to pause. I feel like I should get a tattoo that says “reflection required.” Because while I am quite comfortable in motion silent is brilliant for me. Taking time to process is when I feel so alive and able to take in all around me and learn from my life. Since we have been back stateside doctor appointments, phone calls, hearing lots of opinions, being with friends, family, taking in and soaking up all things “American” have kept us running. I know the speed has been too much as was evident but my emotional breakdown last night. Yeah, again. But after time, quiet, prayers, and sharing and talking with I am J grateful I can identify some if what I am feeling.
Leaving so suddenly was right for our family. We know that regardless of what may remain some unanswered questions about our little girl. We prayed and felt so much peace that we needed to make sure she was ok and He has confirmed that this timing was right. But there were always be some people that will think we are not careful enough or those that think we are too cautious and did not trust in God. We want community, feedback, encouragement, and challenge but ultimately we cannot put pressure on ourselves to be on anyone’s journey but our own. And I have come to have peace knowing we are relying and listening to Him. And even though it was a blessing to come home it threw us into an adjustment that caught us off guard. We are all having some re-entry shock. And I guess we should be used to this by now but we are slow learners. We feel it. Our kids feel it.
Annikah has been talking back, complaining even though she is fun “America-land,” being disrespectful, and in general ruling our family with her tyraids as of late. My patience ran out yesterday because I was relying on my own reserves which are oft in short supply. Jason and I talked a lot last night and I realized so much of how we have been dealing with everything has caused tension. This feeling of never really belonging anywhere, of moving around, or never being in one place too long, of the unknown. It all needs a voice. This morning we had a great talk as a family. We apologized to Anni for our lack of patience and we prayed together. Anni cried and apologized too through tears and said she was sorry she has not been “honoring her father and mother” (her words). We focus on all the fun here but we also needed to give a voice to the pains of transition. Growing pains are good and healing.
Once thing I am grateful for is that the Lord is teaching me to be so thankful for where we live, for the miraculous ways He moves, the ways He has been faithful, and the ways He has provided in our lives, and that we have gotten to see it, to witness it, to attest to His greatness. I love the culture of our island and as I get to see and learn more my heart grows wider to embrace it all. But I love my culture too. We just “get it” here. Sigh. Deep breath. I love the unspoken, being understood, and understanding with little effort. Being back has meant rare treats, time with family and friends, and a recharge of being where everything is more known. But coming back also has meant we see everything with new eyes. The eyes of living between two worlds. It is a privilege to step back and look at my old normal with eyes that have been changed by living and seeing that my normal is not reality for most people is the world. Coming back to reconnect, allow our girls to get to know their family, and show them more of “our culture” has been good. But also it has taught us that life is not always “greener.” Often we can glamorize America, especially when things are tough or we are stretched beyond any sense of comfort. We say “if we were just in the US we could have ……or be.”……..fill in the blank awesome thing. Let’s be real: It is the sin of not being content. Being back here is a reminder that our thoughts are delusional and people struggle here. It may look different but life is bumpy, difficult, a journey, and there is no “easy.” Being content has little to do with where you are or what you have. God gave me a clear reminder to never be quick to judge or lacking in gratefulness that all we have is amazing blessing poured out. There is no lacking in His gifts.
Being back I see again with new eyes how much is preached. How much of a constant barrage for our attention, affections, and devotion materialism has. The sheer variety, choice, options, volume, availability, and excess. Now, I love me some American prices, some American choices, and some excess- don’t get me wrong. It is what we miss as we pay 8 dollars for a rare box of cereal. I guess I just more clearly see it after living away from it for so long. But as we walked through Target to “stock up” my mind wandered. I actually had time to think. We grazed through aisles and kept saying “we need that” only to have one of us reply “no, actually we have gotten by just fine without it for 3 years.” It was weird. The more we are “in” this culture the more the thoughts of needing stuff creeps in. Being around the stuff it tries to attach itself to you. It all whispers… You need it. You want it. You have to have it to be happy. Stuff you never even new about suddenly becomes worthy of pursuit. But that is just not true. Lies. What struck me was how much more difficult it is to live simply here. Where we live we have to live more simply. It is our only option and God gave me new perspective that that can be blessing, abundance, and life giving.
Existing in two completely different worlds is our right now. Being here
it is hard to even believe that there
exists simultaneously with the excess here
. I sometimes feel I don’t fit in completely here
anymore but I am always the different one there
too. This living with one foot here and one foot in Africa has a learning curve. And I am pretty sure I am not that great at it. Lots of transition, many mistakes, lots of joys, some mourning. But a friend encouraged me that maybe that is how we all should feel. I had not thought about that way and she encouraged me so much. I am really not supposed to be comfortable here
. That being in the world but not of it is what Jesus calls us to
when he says “They do not belong to this world any more than I do……Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world..”
I thought about that a lot. I prayed on it. Again, realizing that something I see as difficulty is meant for blessing in my life. Is meant for molding. Is meant so that I can become more Christ-like. And without praying, reflecting, and surrendering to it I can miss it. That we should not be conformed to the world but actually being transformed by the renewing of our minds
. That has new meaning for me now and I am trying to lean into that transformation with humility, love, gratitude, and vulnerability. Living between two worlds but looking forward only to the one that is to come. With anticipation. With excitement. With Joy.