It’s that time again, time when we let go of our entire life in Africa and step back into an entirely different life in America. We stay connected to both worlds to some extent due to electronic communications, but the discipline of pulling away from one to the other helps remind us to step back for a bit of perspective. There were times this year that I couldn’t pull myself away from work, couldn’t say no to the tasks before me or take just a couple days off. All of that melts away when I am on a different continent. It’s a discipline that I think is healthy for us on both sides. Reiteration that things can go on without me on the one side. Reinforcement that this place is not our home, not our final resting place, on the other sides.
I have been blessed and overwhelmed by two things in particular this time that we are back. First is the amazing security that comes from roots. I can’t imagine many people are able to live in various parts of the world and still come back from time to time to the house where they grew up, a house with over 30 years of memories where not much has changed. I feel blessed beyond measure to return to the church of my childhood and see those same saints who taught me the Bible and put up with all of my awkward and irritable phases. The children I used to babysit now have children of their own, and now I have to learn first names for people who I only recognized as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” – but there is so much security in that.
So it’s been a blessing to refresh close to my roots, and to still have those roots to return to, family and friends. But beyond that, I have found a deeper blessing that is perhaps the most profound that any human could hope for. I find that I am fully known and fully loved. These past years have been hard as we struggled in a new ministry setting and strove to understand and be understood by others. Sometimes I felt like I was in a constant tightrope or caught on pins and needles so that I wouldn’t offend people. But being back home, with people who have known me for 23 or 28 years or my entire life, all of that falls away. My friends come alongside me and share my joys and forgive my faults. My family makes time for me even when they are short on time, even though I have pursued a life that puts so much distance between us.
I am blessed beyond measure, overwhelmed. I am able to heal in ways that I didn’t even know I was broken. I am able to think about moving forward because I have these roots and this safety net. Praise God for this protected and safe time.