First and foremost, I sincerely apologize for not posting all summer and basically leaving you hanging. Lo and behold it is officially fall (although the weather outside screams otherwise), and I am just getting around to saying something. This wasn’t because I was too busy or too lazy… okay, maybe a tad bit of each definitely contributed, but it was mainly because I couldn’t find the words to say. Do you know how frustrating it is to have a million words swirling about in your brain but no way to formulate them? Not fun! But by the grace of God and the patience of those around me, I have been able to collect a few words here and there, and this is my attempt 🙂
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you – it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you… Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
I absolutely love this quote by Anthony Bourdain. If you have experienced traveling, or another life-altering journey, perhaps you can relate to what I am about to share (and bear with me as it is still a bit scattered). The whole journey, albeit physical or metaphorical, changes you. For me, spending a year of my life as an SM altered how I think, what I wear, the words I say, the priorities in my life, my interactions with others, the list could go on – it practically rewired my brain in some aspects! On the other hand, I still have to fight to overcome some of the same issues I had before I left. Amazing how the things we sometimes think are issues are merely disguises for something much, much deeper… but I digress.
I could not see the changes that happened in me until I came back, and even now I am making new discoveries. To tell you the truth, the transition back has been a whole lot harder than it ever was going out. A friend of mine, who just got back from her two year service in Yap, likened it to something she discussed with her friend. We have a mission, a specific call of duty, when we go out and serve. We spend time doing everything we can to fit into the culture, befriend the locals, learn the language, everything in order to be approachable. Our main job is to stand out by blending in. However, once back in the States, we try to do the same thing, except we stand out more than anything, and not necessarily in a good way. I personally had issues relating to “Americans” how they do this and don’t do that and yadda yadda yadda. I was so focused on the hardships I was having that I was missing the point. God took me out to Africa (I still cannot believe that… Africa?!) to teach me things I needed to know to use back in the States. Instead of shunning and shaming these “horrible Americans” (and trust me, I’m one too!), I was to befriend them, talk to them, learn their language, and do everything in order to be approachable and I can be the first to tell you that it’s not easy! I still have times where I find my self uncontrollably hiking up to my soapbox, ranting and raving all the way, but I thank God I have Someone who listens and then gently helps me back down.
So I will leave you all with one more quote (I can’t help it! I love quotes!), but I want you to remember something: God was with you through your journey and just because you are back on familiar grounds does not mean He will abandon you. He is ALWAYS there for you, always has been, always will be.
“Travel is still the most intense mode of learning.” – Kevin Kelly