It’s been two weeks already. Two weeks! How did that happen? I meant to post sooner; I’ve been wanting to share some reflections now that I have returned home, but it took a while to get back to a normal schedule.
I was really excited to be home for one singular reason–my boyfriend. My spirits were high and my eagerness barely under control thanks to my anticipation of being in his arms again. And once I was finally there, it was like releasing a breath that I had been holding way too long. Relaxed and relieved.
He gave me a wonderful surprise when he took me home. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but on the evening of the day I left for Romanian, my absolute favorite author and his co-author were IN TOWN doing a book signing. When I found out, I was devastated that I was going to miss that by just a few hours! Naturally, I told him about it, so that night after he dropped me off at the airport, he went and got a book signed for me and even got a picture with them! I never knew until I saw the book hiding under a pillow on my bed when I got back. I squealed and nearly knocked him over with a hug when I saw it :). It meant so much to me that he did that! And he continued to be Mr. Wonderful during the first half of the week as I dealt with the lasting effects of jet-lag. It was really rough. I was tired nearly all the time, would wake up on and off all night, and had a horrible time trying to eat normally. Going back to work was hard too and I am thankful that it wasn’t super busy that week because I was a zombie. I drank a lot of coffee. But those days are mostly a blur now. It wasn’t until the second half of the week that I started feeling normal again, and by that time, my poor guy caught a nasty cold. Our assignments suddenly switched and I spent the rest of the week helping him get better quickly. So that first week was difficult and certainly abnormal but we got to spend a lot of time together and that was all that mattered to me.
As surprising as this is, once I got over jet-lag, I experienced a little bit of culture shock again as I re-adjusted to American life. I had to re-learn what was normal. It was not as profound as the moments of culture shock I experienced in Romanian. I just realized that while everything was the same, everything felt different. It wasn’t hard to figure out that I had changed, that I had gained new perspectives. At first it was just a series of emotions that I didn’t understand. I felt a sadness and disappointment for the abundance that people live with here, and yet always want more. I felt a new appreciation, and embarrassment for how much I have, and of that, how little I really need. I felt humbled by the hospitality I was shown there that is greater than the “southern hospitality” version here. And at the base of it all, I wondered if we have grown so used to our freedoms here that we don’t even appreciate them anymore, or fight for them like we used to.
So yes, this trip changed me, like I knew it would. And the one thing that this trip affirmed for me most is that I do not want a typical American life. I don’t want to just work, just have a family, just go to church, just live in a house, and just barely have any kind of real relationship with God, wondering whether I’m really His. I want a life that is fully His to use, no matter where that takes me. I hope it means traveling the world, because I definitely want that. But more importantly, I want to live the life that God promised, a life in full (John 10:10). I want to go out and experience the world, I want to be used by His hand and see the power and purpose He brings about in this world. Because that life is the one worth living. The one that says, even if I had nothing else, I still have Jesus, and that is enough, more than enough!
It’s a mindset that I have been working towards, slowed by my own doubts and fears, but reaffirmed from time to time, and especially now after I have returned. And I hope it is what will also keep this blog going, because writing it my outlet. It is the way I come to understand myself, God, and the world around me best, and equally share that understanding with others. And the life I hope to lead for God will certainly be worth sharing!
Thank you all for following me throughout this journey. The mission trip is over, but this is only the beginning. Thank you for your prayers and love!
Have a wonderful weekend!