They’re the hardest words for me to read. And often the best.
When the bloggers get home and begin to process in words what it’s like to live here now that they’ve walked there. To ask new questions. When they struggle – each one in a unique way – to re-enter the middle of first world living after finding Jesus past the edges.
Some mourn. Some are filled with gratitude and joy. Some anger. Sometimes all three in the same hour. Most of the time they can’t quite say what’s filling them exactly. But they try.
And it hurts to read because I want to put my arm around them and just be there. Not to fix it but to be something familiar, unmoving, someone who can truly say “I understand.”
And it hurts to read because I’ve been there and I’m not anymore. I don’t get angry, or mournful, or overly joyful – no extremes. I re-enter easily. Perhaps that’s because I’m seldom shocked and surprised anymore by what I see overseas. And perhaps that’s why I don’t react as strongly as I once did when I come home to Super Target and kids who don’t like what’s for dinner and faces that don’t sing or smile at church.
I expect this now.
I know what I’ll find when the plane lands in the developing world. And I know the tension of living between that world and mine when I return. That tension is my new normal.
And if there’s one thing I mourn now it’s that. I wish I could get angry, to cry, to experience confusion, to be appalled, indignant even. But I’m not. Oddly, I mourn my stability.
Please continue to pray for the bloggers who traveled to the Philippines last week. Pray that they re-enter as gracefully as possible. Pray against self-righteousness, a malady so easy to pick up when you’re the only one in your family and circle of friends who’s seen what we’ve seen. There’s a danger in thinking we “get it” and no one else does. Pray lastly that bloggers continue to listen and follow as God leads them into a new normal. That new normal may mean difficult major life changes – pray for obedience.