Monday, November 17, 2014

Emotionally Raw

There is no other way to say it October and November have left me emotionally raw. From Jamen fracturing his arm to our family being sick for the last 8 weeks and me feeling guilty for not being able to pour into other people around me. The hearing of the sudden and tragic death of a three year boy in our village and feeling the weight of why we are doing what we are doing. The high spring temperatures (118F) that have left people in the village with sleepless nights and walking to get water at night because its too hot during the day. And me feeling guilty for sleeping in and not having to leave the temperature controlled house for days. The planning of our return and yet needing to be present here and now. The reality that there will be hot and sleepless nights list goes on as it slow strips away leaving me feeling beaten and raw.

I read a fellow missionary blog and she said it so well I have to quote her because I couldn't have said it any better. "I'm worried that my commentary on American life right now might come across more critical than I intend, so I just don't write about it. I don't feel critical, but I do feel a little lost and overwhelmed at times and I am not sure that I could explain those feelings well on this blog without it sounding like I am bashing everything around me. People constantly address the issue of Third Culture Kids  (children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their development years and who don't feel like they are truly a part of their culture of origin or fully part of their host culture. They are a mixture of both and therefore represent a "third" culture) but nobody really talks about Third Culture Adults. And I think what I am feeling and experiencing should be labeled as that. Because even though I spent almost 30 years in North American culture, there are some parts I never experience that I am experiencing now."

          "But the real transition has been that I have tried my best to immerse myself in a completely different culture for the last three years, and jumping back into my own has been more complicated because of the new sights, sounds, and thoughts that I have been processing for three years. I can't un-see the things that I have seen that now make me view the entire world- not just these two separate and unique cultures- through different lenses. I have a whole new perspective, and as most of you know, perspective can make all the difference." 


She says it so well, doesn't she? I am so there and can totally relate and understand. I realized this month that my perspective has changed in so many ways. Since we came back to the states I knew how I saw things was different but I kinda pushed it away or shoved it down and blamed it on just being out of tune with things. But now I realize I view the entire world different now and that's OK. So in my times of feeling raw with the weight of a new perspective I have thrown my self into the word in the early quite of the morning, cried out to the Lord, been burly eyed with lack of sleep and hardly able to engage those around me. I pray for guidance and renewed excitement, I plan and organize and am thankful for this time of AC and indoor heating and rich foods to nourish our bodies. I talk with my husband and close friends who have been there and understand, not to have a pity party or brag about how our perspectives are different now but to be encouraged and/or come alongside. I'm not prepared for the things that are challenging and that shake me to my core but I don't have to be, I have be walking in truth and looking to the Lord to guide me and grow me in it.  

This month I've also been realizing that in just 7 1/2 short weeks we'll head back. So I have stopped buying luxury items like body wash and switched back over to bar soap. I'm letting the mouth wash run out. Some might think this ridiculous but I couldn't justify throwing out half used items, I don't want to leave them behind and I'm not taking half used items back (I need all the space I can). So here I am, reminding the kids to wash and rinse quickly while showering, don't leave the water running while brushing teeth, I've been writing down new recipes and menu planning for a whole month (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to save myself the time when we get back. Its a good thing too cause its taking me a long time. 

Then to top it off I've been reminded not to be so attached to our stuff. 

We lost our favorite backpack, the one we have had for 8 years and had been collecting national park passes on, it had all our memories! When Jon was on his way on a camping trip it flew out of the back of the truck, he lost everything (clothes, camera, flashlight, sleeping bag, ect.)! He called me and I spent over an hour driving around with the kids, looking and stopping on the interstate. I told the kids and we cried together. I actually got a little mad at God, thinking its just a backpack, can't you let us find it! But then He reminded me that I was being prideful and putting too much weight and identity in something like the backpack. I was playing the "woe is me" card and "pitiful poor missionary" card, thinking to my self, "we don't have much in this world and you take the back pack away?" Pathetic I know but I'm being real with you none the less and the Lord was good in reminding me my thinking was wrong and so was my attitude. And really in the grand scheme of things, I would rather loose all my stuff and still have my family, and that is where my focus should be, so I'm kinda thankful it took the loosing of the backpack to remind me and nothing more.