A few days ago, I was over at Velvet Ashes, talking about the beauty and blessing of connection, and particularly their Connection Groups.
When I returned to my passport country after 16 years overseas, I knew it probably wouldn’t be plain sailing. I thought I was prepared for that. After all, I’d read books about re-entry, been to seminars – even taught about it and walked through it with other people! I should have been good at this re-entry thing. Well, here I was, four years in, and things weren’t going the way I had expected. True, there was much I loved about my new place and life. Yet thinking about what I’d left behind was still oh-so-painful. It was messy, and I was tired.
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Gone, but not forgotten. Only ruins remain of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire (UK) but even the ruins speak of lives once lived there. And those daffodils of spring? Long gone. But not forgotten, and in time, they will come to life again.
To me, these “oh so English” pictures also speak of wonderful years living in that country. Those days are gone and have been replaced by a new life in a new/old country, but they are definitely not forgotten!
Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone, But Not Forgotten
Heathrow Terminal 5. One last look around WH Smith. Anything I’ve forgotten to buy? What can I not get back in Berlin? Cadbury’s Dairy Milk are on special. Definitely need to get some of those!
And then on to the gate, waiting to return to my other life. A week of wonderful times with friends, of visiting old haunts, of reliving my old life, comes to an end. Another world awaits me.
Flying alone can be hard. And boring, but that’s not the point. It’s more the sense of completely leaving behind a very special week, because no one can share those memories with me. This is how someone else expressed this dynamic:
One friend wrote that the hardest part for her is flying alone. Not because I don’t have the ability or because I’m afraid, but because it highlights the fact that no matter where I go, there is no person that is consistent in my life. Sitting at an airport gate by yourself can be lonely for anyone. However, I agree with my friend. When you’re a single missionary, it’s a deeper loneliness than simply not having someone to chat with while you wait for your flight. It’s the knowledge that you are leaving one “home” for your other “home,” and no one is making this transition with you. Your two “lives” are consistent, but you are the only one who lives them both.
Today, I am feeling this a lot.
In the months before I left the ME, people kept urging me to disengage and transition back. And I made a conscious decision to “be all there, wherever I was.” And I don’t regret that at all—I’d do it again. What I do regret was that I failed to apply that rule when I started over in the States. I’m being taught to “be all here”even while large chunks of my heart are in another world, with another people. I think it’s a most excellent problem to have—the challenge to balance yourself, your interests, your relationships, your conversations, your love. I’m here for “such a time as this”—to engage with those who are right before me. This is a reality, too, and this American life is worthy of my full attention and energy, especially when I firmly believe that our Father is forever sustaining us, preparing us and directing our steps.
Large chunks of MY heart will forever be in the crazy country that comes up with things like this:
Can’t stand Marmite (or even Ma’amite) but love love love the humour!
Yup, never again will my heart be all in one place. At times, I feel a huge need to cling on to “that place”. To make my apartment a shrine filled with Union Jacks. To listen to the BBC 24/7. To not be all here, in this place and this life. To not allow new treasures to be added to (and mixed in with) the ones from across the channel. Most people won’t understand. How could they (after all, there are many things about their lives I will never understand either). But there are some who do and for those I am deeply thankful.
I long to arrive at the place where I am able to
engage in both worlds with a beautiful balance.
(Quotes are from the blog post “Back to Amreeka: They Don’t Know… “. Click here to read the whole thing.)