I’m about to be really honest…totally transparent. So I hope you’re ready.
I’m not okay. And my mouth can’t find the words that my heart feels.
I’ve been back in the States for a little less than two weeks. And while I’m so happy to have run into the arms of my sweet family and laugh with my precious friends on this side, I’m not okay. My heart is not okay. It hurts in ways that I can’t explain and that might make me seem crazy if I could.
I currently feel like my Iphone charger that wanted so badly to fit into the African outlets but couldn’t without an adapter. I’m trying to force myself right back into the life I lived for so long before this summer, and I can’t. I can’t because I have just lived two totally different lives. Two lives that both became normal…two places that both have become home. It’s as if someone I loved greatly has died and I’m trying to figure out how to move forward without them while still carrying everything they taught me and I loved about them with me.
Most people spend their college years going through the “figuring out who I am” stage of life. Well I’m at mine now. Not in the “I’m going crazy to push the limits” kinda way. But in the way of living two different ways and trying to figure out what that leaves me with in the middle. How to mesh the two together. How to be “me”, how to be “God’s Ander” in both places. And so I’m trying to find me again.
I’ve struggled and felt so awkward in conversations. I have embraced friends that know everything about me and yet not been able to find any words to say. I missed their lives for a summer and they missed mine and the two lives we were living were vastly different and I don’t know what to say to fill the gap. There are movies and songs that I missed. There are mountains and valleys in their lives that I was away from and so I’m behind on the now. I feel as though there is no common ground. And all the same goes with them, they don’t know that side of life that I just lived either. And it’s nobodies fault….it’s just a cost (a cost I’ll always pay) of missions.
There’s the frustrations of coming from a place of porridge and now having a million and one choices of cereal to eat every day. The frustrations of having so much and knowing I would be perfectly find without much of it. There’s the frustration of living on “Acholi time” where “you get there when you get there” because you’ve stopped to have conversations with everyone on the way and now going and going and going and at the end of the day not feeling like you had one meaningful conversation.
I want so badly to share my life this summer so that everyone around me knows the people I now call family, and yet I can’t. I haven’t even wrapped my head around the stories and culture I just experienced. I haven’t fully cried my eyes out over the things I know both in the pain and the thankfulness. The pain that my family has experienced through the war in Uganda and in the complete gratitude and thankfulness I have that my Jesus has restored so many of their broken stories all because he is so merciful and kind. I haven’t even figured it out. I haven’t been able to even let myself think or hurt over it…I haven’t been able to even let myself try. But thank you, thank you so much to the ones who have asked me about my people and my home in Africa…thank you because it helps. Even if I can’t get it out. Thank you for asking…it means the world to me.
I told you I would be totally transparent and so I am. I have sat down and spent maybe two quiet times with my Baba since I have been back. I know….crazy right. I just went from being fully immersed in sharing his love and Gospel to hardly spending time with him. But that’s it. This is me being honest. My prayers have been simple…because I don’t have words…because my heart hurts. I just say help me. I just say show me. I just say I need you because I can’t. As strange as it sounds, when I pull my Bible out, my heart breaks. My heart shatters. Because my Bible was just held by dark brown hands, it has pages stained with red dirt fingerprints. It has notes and writings and dates of when scripture was shared. It’s hard. So I’m begging for your prayers for me. I know he is the only one that gets it. I need him.
It is all hard. It all hurts. Pictures of the sweet faces of my precious family across the ocean are constantly running through my head no matter what I’m doing like a slideshow that has no end. Wondering what they are doing, wondering how they are, wondering if they are okay. And I know they are because I know that it was nothing of me that created those special bonds…it was all my Baba and my Baba still holds them. But it’s hard. It’s hard not to greet them, hold their strong hands, and hug their necks. It’s hard not to ask them “how is home” and not to have them laugh at my attempt to speak their language. It’s hard not to spend the early morning singing in the kitchen with Rose and the afternoons watching my guys kick butt at football. It’s hard.
I’ve decided one thing….If you want your heart to be completely whole inside of you, if you want to avoid hurt….don’t do missions. Don’t go meet people who might look, live, and sound different from you. If you want your heart to never break, don’t do it.
But….if you want your heart to be filled so much that it breaks because it explodes with love…go. If you want to fall on your knees in awe at the vastness of our Father in heaven and his amazing creating skills…go.
If you don’t want to pass a football (soccer) field filled with children trying to score and defend goals only to burst into tears because watching football was a daily activity…don’t go. If you don’t want to lose it because a lizard is on your door when you get home and it reminds you of the many small friends that you shared a house with on the other side of the world…don’t go.
But if you want to live knowing you are loved deeply by people who speak a different language and live a different culture…go. If you want to realize the only thing in this world that matters at all is finding a way to love people even when the odds are stacked against you…go.
If you want to see just how amazing our Father in heaven is…..go….