Bob Bell writes "The most interesting people are the ones that are actually doing the work that's in front of them whether that's selling insurance or driving for Uber. They make it to their craft and as much as we think only lucky people get to do what they love, we often fail to realize what we can love about this moment. This job. This place in time. And so we long for some other place because only then will we be happy and fulfilled... we need to cultivate a gentle awareness that we are alive, here, and we get to do this."
For so long I wanted to go to Kenya. My bedroom wall has maps of the world and the words "Send me". Send me God there, send me God overseas to serve had been my prayer for the longest time. Yet when he answered my prayer, after a short while, my heart began to long of home again. You always miss the place you aren't while the place you live in draws closer than expected to your heart and home. Missions was wonderful, but America tastes even sweeter in other ways because of reuniting with friends and family, and coming back.
We have to learn to live in the now and be happy about it: to appreciate this stage even if it's full of challenges. I came home expecting America to be easy breezy, challenge-free in a way. I had told myself unknowingly for a while that "everything is easier in the states" (because in many ways certain things are) that I wasn't prepared for disorder and chaos or sadness upon coming back.
It's just- when you live in a third world country- you learn to live prepared for anything that can go wrong to go wrong. You learn to make flexibility your middle name, you go into every situation prepared for adverse outcomes, you tell yourself because it's temporary you can face and overcome anything. But when you go home, you expect familiarity, sameness, you expect to be comfortable. You expect life to start happening the same way it did for you before but maybe better but life's not like that. Coming back home has it's own set of challenges and life has gone on for other people and situations have changed. You have changed too you are quite different than when you left.
Coming back is difficult in many ways because no one around you has any idea how you lived the past six months, or the cultural changes you experienced. You expect your friends and family to want to hear "all about Kenya" but often they don't care or know how to relate. People ask with anticipation "How Kenya was?" expecting a one sentence answer that encompasses the adventure, and thrill, and joy of situation when really there was so much more. Instead of asking me "If I've recovered from jet lag?" I would love to be asked "How I'm doing?" or what my favorite part of living in Kenya was?
Readjusting is difficult but change is always difficult and yet beautiful at the same time. The experience of living in Kenya will mold and change my heart forever just like my first missionary experience of living in Peru. With this change, like all others there are gains and losses at the same time.
The thing to praise God about is that He is the God who sees us in and through every change in our life. He is the God who goes with us through the processes of life, through the seasons, and He remains our constant. He remains our faithful stronghold. So in this life though there are difficult changes- some of which even must be mourned- we can praise Him friends because He holds our temporary bodies in His hands and in His heart and reminds us that soon all these temporary things that fade will be exchanged for a beautiful eternity with Him.
2 Corinthians 4:16 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.