In the life of a missionary there are long periods of time where you are working to find what is the “new normal” for you and your family. You see, once you decide to become a missionary what is “normal” is a constantly changing denominator. You find yourself struggling to define it but, usually, when you hit it, you find you are breathing a little easier.
We stopped having “normal” about 9 months before we left Papua New Guinea to return to the US for furlough. Some may wonder why so long before the actual event we were so disrupted. Packing our house and readying it so it could hopefully be rented while we were gone, try to arrange for phones, housing, transportation, and as much of daily living details before landing stateside, saying goodbye to friends who have become like family, for our children to say goodbye to their home (they don’t have any memories of America), fund-raise for Evan to be able to make it to Thailand for the BAM conference. Get Evan to Thailand and back to PNG in the cheapest and most efficient way. Live apart while making the final preparations and goodbyes for the last month of our time in PNG.
Throw in there a health scare that nearly resulted in a medivac to Australia and a logistical nightmare I am still thanking God about and also still wondering what is wrong with me…
Anyway, since landing stateside (March 25) we have continued to spend a lot of time not being normal. We made a major shift in resigning from our mission organization and began to filter our funding through another. To put it mildly, this has not been a smooth transition.
I have struggled these three years with barely making it from month to month. In fact, truth be told, I struggled with an awful lot while we were following God’s will. I absolutely hated that no matter how many “overtime” hours Evan spends at the shop it has nothing to do with how much will come in or whether it will cover the bills.
I was torn up with hearing how much of a sacrifice we are making and how brave and amazing we are and then feeling forgotten 24 hours after our latest newsletter is delivered. Then feeling guilty for feeling fed-up; knowing that if the roles were reversed I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing; lapsing back into my kids’ playdates, work, dinners…you know. Life. Life is what happens when you leave a previous spot you occupied in a certain corner of the world and make a new space for yourself in another corner. The old spot gets filled up with other people and other things. When you come back, room is made, but you don’t have your old spot and you never will again.
I knew this. I had read books, blogs and talked to experienced people on the field. I knew that when I came back it would be a hard thing to find a place for me and my family. There would be reverse culture shock. And boy is there ever. But, just as you truly don’t know what is like to live overseas until you do it…you don’t know about furlough until you do it.
I am ready to run away. But not from home, I am ready to run away TO home. But home is no longer here. And there, it is slowly getting further away, as I see by the facebook posts. Of friends living life in a space I used to occupy and hope to occupy again, friends leaving for their own new spaces, some are new, new spaces…another mission, another country. And some are new, old spaces. Time to resettle in birth countries, for now or for always. I am happy and sad for them all.
I often feel I am a bit like Scrooge on one or the other of his first two ghostly visits…my life past and my life now…standing in the midst but not being seen.
I don’t like putting up these blog posts because it seems like I am doing nothing but complaining in them…And I certainly don’t want to make it seem like I am fishy for a pity-party, a “How is your faith?” inquiry (believe me, I talk to God every day…and I can’t get through my days without Him) or anything else.
But I have also received encouragement from various fronts to be authentic . So. I here am.
A little bit stuck between.