On the last night of every Compassion Bloggers trip we sit around a table together and talk about how to go back home. Because re-entry is a peculiar and scary thing.
We talk about the myriad responses we may have when we get there. There’s no telling what’s going to happen when a person goes from slum to Super Target.
Some people are numb, unable to feel anything.
Some are battered by guilt and embarrassment over how easy their life is.
Some feel inexplicably sad, over nothing…or everything.
Some lose their drive and ambition entirely and quit blogging.
Some get angry.
And, I tell the bloggers, some people experience all of this in one afternoon!
No matter what you feel, I tell them, it’s normal. You’re not the only one.
I’m not a trained counselor. I’m not a medical doctor or seminary grad either. My expertise on this subject comes from experience. Fifteen times now I’ve re-entered normal life a little less normal than when I left it. And every re-entry experience has been different.
I’ve wanted to sell everything, give it to the poor, and live in a cardboard box. I’ve thrown a kid’s food – plate and all – in the trash when she said she didn’t like what we were having for dinner. I’ve curled up in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and tried to pray to a God I felt I’d left behind on another continent. I’ve been manic, driven, passionate, throwing myself into work from early in the morning to late at night. And I’ve struggled to feel anything at all.
And today I’m angry. There’s no particular reason for it. Well, I’ve been angry for a few days now and there have been things that have set it off but none of them are rational. The amount of anger I feel is disproportionate to what I blame it on. What would usually annoy is making my blood boil.
So I walk away, take deep breaths, drink hot tea, vent to Becky and tell God who I think He should send a plague to next…nothing life-threatening…maybe boils or some other minor pestilence. Humor helps too. And confession.
I know this is normal. I’m not the only one.