As I’ve been in the States traveling around and talking about our past year with people, I have been forced to process through some of the things that we have experienced a little more in depth. People have been so amazing, and I have discovered as I close each time with a chance to ask questions, I start to be emotional when I am forced to go “off script” and really think about my feelings, hopes, and expectations. For the most part I feel like I cannot answer those questions clearly yet. I am excited to get back to Nairobi and start figuring out life with my family. Yet I’m grieving the loss of the plans and hopes we had as a team and a family in South Sudan. I am so happy to know that we are a part of a church in Nairobi that is truly seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the city, yet it still new and foreign, and I long for it to feel like family. I am at complete peace with John going to Nyack and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the right place for him, yet that leaves a big hole in our family. I hear news from South Sudan and wonder if things will ever change for the happy, easy-going, peace-desiring people I know and love there, and still struggle with the whys that keep coming up in my heart and mind as far as justice and freedom.
So while I have been silent on here for a while, there have been many thoughts and ideas for blogs churning around inside. Here’s the thing, though…I can’t seem to figure out how to put voice to any of them in an accurate, satisfactory way. In the middle of a sentence I realize I am rambling and have already changed my mind about what I was saying three times. I’ve written out blog after blog and wadded up the paper and thrown it out just as often. It’s not writers block so much as emotional constipation. It seems to be building up and wanting to come out, but I can’t quite make it happen. Wow…even that example could go in a really graphic direction that I think I will avoid-ha!
I recently heard the quote again from The Hobbit movie, and I think it sums up a lot of why this is. Gandalf is telling Bilbo that he should go on this incredible adventure. Bilbo, being the cautious hobbit that he is says, ” Can you promise I will come back?” Gandalf responds in his usual honest way by saying, “No. And if you do, you will not be the same.”
Thats where I feel like I’m at. Back, but not the same. And as I try to talk with people- friends, family, strangers, etc- it’s become clear that there are times even I don’t recognize the things that have changed in me this year. Most of the time I’m ok with that- I feel a steadiness in me that comes when you are at the point of looking back on something hard and knowing God was in it all. But sometimes, when I’m sitting and wanting to say something to make myself clear, yet I’m not sure what words to say or even how to put words to a thought, I feel lost. Sometimes I get ready to give the response to a question I would have given a year ago, and I realize that my answer is different. It’s funny, I remember saying to someone last year when I turned 40 what a good feeling it was to be at a place in life where I knew who I was, and was comfortable in that. Then God answered all those prayers sung in that beautiful, emotion-stirring song about a trust without borders and keeping my eyes above the waves, and I am caught up in the wave and have not touched bottom since.
It’s hard. And confusing. And so very right and good- even when I don’t want to admit it.
So I apologize for long periods of silence, and I won’t make any promises of that changing soon. But then again- how do I know what God has in mind? I do promise to keep it real and honest with you all, and hope you do the same with us. Thanks for your continued prayers and for your faithfulness.