We are in our 4th month of being “back” in the US. When we were just visitors I often wondered what it would be like when we finally moved here for good (or until we get further orders, nothing is really for “good” is it?) And I have to say I’m not sure this is what I pictured. It’s neither good, nor bad, it simply is what it is. Repatriation and all the joys that go with it when you left as one person and have returned another. Sort of like the Hobbits at the beginning of LOTR, compared to the Hobbits at the end of the novel. They felt different and processed life in a new way after their journey was over. They were braver, wiser, a bit beaten up, but better for the journey. I so get this.
And really, nothing can prepare you for starting over at almost-40 in a town that you haven’t lived in since 2001 as a single girl. Pretty much nothing. When you leave as a young woman and return with a head full of gray hair (colored blonde, of course) and have added 6 more people to your entourage than you had when you started out. Life is simply different now. I knew this ahead of time, that this would be weird/hard/challenging/emotional, but still, knowing and living in it are two different things entirely.
I’ve heard stories from other who have gone overseas for a significant amount of time– some are well-cared for in their new places when they return; some enter quietly and try to manage as best they can, staring American apathy well in the face most days and trying to move on in spite of it. God gives grace in both instances, I believe. As for us, we’ve had a bit of both. So perhaps it evens out in the end. Perhaps.
There has been much processing going on in these few months and I have to tell you… there are some things about my passport culture that are infuriating and heart-breaking and completely discouraging. Instead of battling mosquitoes, I’m battling technology and the hold it has on our entire society and now my children in school; instead of inappropriate attention every time I’d walk to the market, it’s apathy and entitlement all around me that get my blood boiling. Again, I knew that I’d feel this way and I’m working through it… but still.
Of course I know there is no perfect country or culture, but somehow when the problems are in your own backyard it’s hard to shrug it off. It feels personal. And yet, these feelings, this sensitivity, is not new– I felt it for weeks every time we came back here for a visit. Anyone who leaves a place and comes back after a while can see the holes that went unnoticed before. But what to do with all this information and emotion right now when everything else is so raw? Still so many more questions than answers right now.
So we are here, but we are moving within the space of uncertainty and full into the “Now what?” Of course I have AshaBelle (changes coming there too!), but Jon… well, we are still sorting that out and would love any prayers you have for us in the area of clarity.
Moving to India was hard. Traveling back and forth was hard. And repatriating is also hard. I know we will survive and have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness in the midst, but sitting in the questions makes me wiggle and squirm. I want to know the whole story. I want to catch a glimpse of the next five years and what they will look like. It’s a pretty big five that will involved kids becoming teenagers and last babies entering into school.
I’m moving in all this with some excitement, some joy, some anxiety and some doubts. The usual blend. I’m sure many women who’ve traveled this road before can relate. I still wake up in the morning in disbelief we are in the US and not living out of suitcases and that I don’t have to rush around making 20 Target runs to get what we need before we head back. And when I do get it, if it will in fact fit in my allotted space.
God has given us some sweet time as a family and has given us a certain measure of rest amidst the chaos. We are grateful. We know he will provide what we need, it’s the patience part that gets me.
So here we are. We’re back. No more indoor camping for a while. And hopefully more writing and making space for myself, which is so hard to do with 5 kids in a cozy farmhouse and a baby who wakes up all the time and is still in our room. Still.
But if you drop by this space I hope you will be encouraged. I’m still on a journey, even if we are no longer in India. I’m on a journey towards owning my gifts and to stop hiding behind my insecurities. It’s hard for me. Probably harder than living in India. But it’s the movement that I need to make. So let’s see where this adventure goes.
And let’s see if I can learn how to end a blog post. Seriously. I’m the worst.