Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Hi. It's me. It's been awhile . . . The last time I was here, I was sitting at my dining room table at my house in Kenya taking one last, tearful, deep breath before loading all of our possessions and children into various vehicles and trekking 10,000 miles around the globe (again) headed for "home". The problem was although we felt like we were going home in a lot of ways we also felt like we were leaving home. Our children definitely felt like they were leaving the only home they really remembered. It was rough. But we dried tears and said good bye to our van, Winnie; our dog, Kuli; our house help, Esther; our yard worker, Jesse; our language teacher, Edward; the vegetable ladies at the market; Sarah at the Duka and all the other extraordinary people we are privileged to call friends in Kijabe that had become so familiar and, well, home, over the last 2 years of living life there. We watched one last magnificent sunset over the Great Rift Valley and thanked God for allowing us the opportunity to come, serve, live, see and experience life in that place. What a special hillside in Africa . . . Our last sunset in Kijabe We landed in Atlanta (after a short detour in London) and fell into the arms of our family. I'm pretty sure everyone at the airport heard the shouts of joy and excitement as we were all reunited again. Seeing our kids with their cousins was so special. They were running around in circles out of sheer joy despite 34 hours of travel. And just like that it was over. All the years of thinking, dreaming, praying, talking, saving, researching, reading scripture, searching for helpful blogs, reading books, training, meeting new friends along the same journey as us . . . it ended right there in the airport that night when we came "home". It's hard to describe all of the emotions involved in such big life decisions and changes. We knew that we were supposed to come back but it was still hard. There was a lot of grieving mixed into the happiness. Cousins at the airport Thankfully we planned a time of reentry debriefing at MTI in Colorado Springs. That sounds awfully complicated and serious but honestly it was just a little space. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who understood us, our struggles and triumphs. We had time to think and process our experience and reenter life in the US well. They also did a phenomenal job helping our children adjust well. We still use some of the tools they taught them as we navigate life and transitions along the way. After living on the equator for 2 years we were thrilled when an unexpected late October storm blanketed us with a gentle covering of snow. Seeing our children giddy with excitement while sledding and taking long walks alone through the quiet, white woods was just what our souls needed as we prepared to step into a new life. It's difficult to summarize the last 2 1/2 years of our life. There have been some wonderful times and, honestly, a lot of struggles as we made a life in a new city where we basically knew a handful of people. But God has been gracious and faithful as we have grown closer to Him on this journey. Our marriage is stronger, our family is so close, our children have remarkable understanding, faith and compassion because we followed Him. I can't really describe what it is like to come back to everyday life after being gone for quite a while. When you first get here it is like everything is in HD. Everything seems sharp and clear and bright. Somethings are overwhelming but, no, I didn't end up in the fetal position on the cereal aisle. Everyone seems so busy, preoccupied and indifferent - almost arrogant. The smart phone invasion happened while we were away. Everyone is SO busy. I wouldn't really describe what I felt as culture shock (at least not the way I've experienced culture shock in the past). That vividness fades as things being to normalize again and feel familiar. We moved to a new city, Rhett started a new job, the kids started school and I tried to make a home. And so the past 2 years and 4 months have been filled with normal life. Work, school, sports, church and eventually even friends (although I really gave up on having friends ever again at one point). We have struggled in a lot of private areas and triumphed in others. We've grown closer as a family and closer to God. We have entered such a marvelous sweet spot with our children who are now 4, 6 and 8. Their little lives are flashing before our eyes. I still think of myself as a mom of really young children then I realize I HAVE AN 8 YEAR OLD. What in the world? As much as I grieve the passing of those precious years of babyness and toddlerness my heart has exploded with love and acceptance of these amazing little people I have the privilege of sharing my life with. Their minds are creative and insightful. They are so much FUN! They still think their Daddy and I are they best thing ever and want to spend all of their time with us. I try to dwell on how much fun we are having and how easy they are to be around right now so I don't get sad thinking about how they are not so little any more. So why am I blogging again? Well, as the title of this post says "he asked me to". Rhett has been asking me for a while if I would start writing again. I blamed it on our dinosaur of a computer and lack of time (both good excuses). But if I'm being honest I didn't even know what or how to write for a really long time. Even when I was in Kenya I had a hard time knowing how to write in a way that was honest, encouraging and good. When we got back life was a whirlwind in so many ways. I don't even think I could articulate how I was feeling and didn't feel like anything I had to say was worth reading most days. But, I appreciate and value what my husband says so I told him I'd think about it (hoping he wouldn't bring it up again). But he did. Again and again. He even got us a snazzy new computer and said "Does this mean you are going to write again?". Maybe he sees something in me that I don't see because I really don't think that I have much to say (I mean is any one still reading this?). And I have a few concerns . . . the blogosphere has changed a lot since I was here last. This started out as a way for our extended family to see our day to day life with babies because we lived at least several hours away and visits weren't frequent. It grew to a place for me to share and continue to keep record of our lives as we lived overseas. I'm very thankful for the journal I have of those times. But I feel like times have changed. Every time I turn around I'm reading blog post by someone (who usually has about 14 readers a month) who posts something and it goes viral on Facebook and next thing you know 76,000 people have read what you have to say. Not that I think more than 14 people really care what I have to say but I kind of thought of this as my little corner to share with friends and now it feels less like that. And there has been more than one occasion when I've made a social media blunder and regretted typed words. I love to blog and think and wonder and pose questions but sometimes others can hear those ponderings as judgmental, harsh or take them personally. So I'm trying to be mindful of this platform and realize that it's not my personal space to talk as much as it may seem but I also think Rhett is right. I need this space. My introvertedness shines as I write to process and think and share. Maybe a time comes to make this an actual private space but I've met some pretty awesome people through my blog and by reading others and I don't want to give that up if I don't have to. So, I'm back. Thanks to my husband who asked me to crank this old machine up again. I think I've got a little cleaning up to do around here! I've got a long list of things I can't wait to talk about and share. I'm thankful for a husband who loves me and loves to hear what I have to say here. I'm thankful that he knows me well enough to see that this is a good place for me to be. .