I used to watch those space movies - like Apollo 13 - and be most terrified when the astronauts were finally coming home. Were they going to make it? Were they going to burn up in the atmosphere?
Reentry is full of pressure, heat, the stripping away of protective layers, fear, anticipation, and uncertainty.
I know. Because I've been doing it for nearly a year.
This time last year, I was still in China - writing about my fearful anticipation of reentry to the USA (and entry into motherhood). (And my longing to be DONE with pregnancy.) I can look back on those posts now and see that God has met my every need in this transition... That most of my fears went unrealized, and that the ones that were real were manageable when I approached them one day at a time. (Doesn't He promise to be our daily bread?)
But what I didn't anticipate was how lost I'd feel. I guess I thought once we got through all the fiery challenges of the outer atmosphere, it'd be smooth sailing. (Excuse my mixed metaphors.) We'd get the place to live, get the job, and settle into a nice little neat life with easy access to Target. (A longtime dream of mine.) Now we're there - Target is 5 minutes away, Jacob has a great job, and I have a new circle of friends to do life with. But I'm still not sure where I am.
Parts of me were changed and lost and transformed through the process of reentry. And to push the space analogy perhaps a little too far - I feel more like an alien in some ways than ever before.
Reentry hasn't been all that pretty. Spiritually, if I'm honest, I'm in a funky place. I've kind of given up. I look back on my last 4 years of life and wonder, "What was THAT all about." It seems to have no connection to this new life of playdates and lunches and craft projects. (But seriously, you should SEE some of the stuff I've made for Christmas gifts. ADORABLE, I tell you.) I can exist in both worlds fairly well... I'm not some weird ex-missionary who only wears dresses from 1980 and eats bugs for snacks. (Right, Midland friends? I'm not that, am I?!) But it just seems that the two worlds are so distinctly separate that my life in Asia was some weird anomaly. Some strange blip on the radar of my life. It just feels so Other from the life I'm leading now, that it just seems like an odd waste of time in some ways... maybe because I feel like there's very little "lasting" impact to show from it.
If I have any blog readers left (doubtful, given my utter abandonment of this thing these last few months), I can hear you now. You've always been an encouraging bunch - and I know you'd say things like: "Think of the children and people you impacted." Or, "The seeds you planted will bear a harvest later." Or, "It may be unseen, but it is no less meaningful." I know you'd say such encouraging things, because I would too, if the shoe were on the other foot. I don't really know why this is, but for some reason those platitudes have very little traction in my heart right now.
The reality is, NDFH was doing just fine before me and is doing just fine now. The kids that I was involved with would have gotten their surgeries and healed and been adopted even if I wasn't there. I've always said, and continue to believe, that the greatest impact was on myself. But now that my life is focused on such entirely different things, I'm wondering what kind of impact it really was?
I've tried to maintain involvement - helping with various fund-raising drives (WE HAVE ONE GOING ON NOW!!!!) and doing some writing projects for the foster home - but it just feels so trivial in light of the amount of time I spend going to Target or coming up with crafty projects to occupy me during nap time. To be honest, in some ways it feels like the values I've said lead my life really do not. And I've sort of settled into indifference as a result. (Hence the trips to Target and Hobby Lobby.)
I'm remembering now that some told me reentry would be harder than leaving. It's true. And so much harder to deal with, because the challenges, differences, and problems aren't easily identifiable. We're "supposed" to be able to just jump back into this life where we left off. We're "supposed" to be grateful to be home. We're "supposed" to be a lot of things. Lost, confused, disheartened, and undirected isn't among them...