I have been back from India for 10 weeks and have been experiencing some of the normal side effects of the always emotional "reentry phase." I have felt an overwhelming dose of God's grace during this time of my reverse culture shock, and I can say with confidence that this year's transition is a lot easier to cope with than last year's.
One aspect that has yet completely knocked me on my tush has been the lack of a physical place to call my own. As humans, we are natural nesters and it seems the rare occurance to find someone who is a true (and permanent) nomad and loves it...sure, it's GREAT for a period of time...I myself love the idea of wandering from adventure to adventure with only the belongings that I carry, and, needless to say, have done quite a bit of that in the past 18 months. However, I finally reached the end of myself in loving my nomadic ways since upon my return from India I have been homeless. I must clarify that I am using the term "homeless" very loosely, so forgive the crude comparison, I just mean to say that I have not had a place to call my own where my bags were unpacked and I wasn't constantly living out of a carry-on sized suitcase and 2 Rubbermaid bins. I was graciously cared for by multiple people who opened up their homes to me and took great care of me while I was in flux. I have always had a roof over my head and thank the Lord for that. Coming into that from 3 months in India where everything is in flux constantly was not ideal but I am growing stronger with every moment that my comforts are stripped away and I realize that I am still just fine, thriving even.
However, I am excited to announce that after 10 weeks of feeling unsettled whist staying with some great friends, I have culminated my time of nomadic wandering with moving into a place with roommates that is all my own. I am nearly finished unpacking and setting up (it doesn't take me long as I travel light-ish these days) and I cannot express the joy I feel in being set up and organized again. For those of you who don't know what kind of household I prefer, let's just say this girl loves color-sorted closets and perfectly organized drawers and shelves, everything in its place. This is a testament to the completely contradictory dichotomy of me: I love to wander nomadically in search of adventure with only a backpack on my back...yet I relish having a place to nest that becomes my personal sanctuary where I can recharge and let go.
So, surrounded by my freshly painted Geranium Leaf green walls, I can't help but feel a deep contentment in the moment knowing that I have once again been given a season to rest and rejuvinate after many months of intense cross-cultural ministry...and I am thankful.
I realize this account begs the question, "so how long will you be sticking around?" and I wish I had a concrete answer for you, but alas, I do not. As much as a blueprint for life would make things somewhat easier, it sure would take the adventure and the flexibility out of things, making us all predictable and irritatingly calm with a lack of passion for the unknown. I believe God has called us ALL into His story, not into creating stories of our own. When you agree to play an integral part in someone else's story, it seems inevitable that you will remain unsure of what's to come...because what's to come is not being determined by you, by your personality, or by your eagerness to control...you are merely along for the ride. Now, the true beauty in this is that God DOES mind our desires and our passion and He DOES use us accordingly based on who He created us to be...which means that in our adventure of the unknown, we can be guaranteed that we will fit in seamlessly, as long as we are remaining submissive to God's leading...remember, it's HIS story we are characters in, not our own. For good measure (and as a reminder to myself), I must point out that fitting seamlessly into God's story isn't about it being easy, because, we can be certain, it won't be. Herein lies the crux of a relationship with Jesus...it is difficult at times but that is where we find the most growth and fruit.
I can loosely sum up my coming future by saying that I don't feel that I am done with India and I most definitely feel I will be back there at some point, possibly sooner than later. What I know is that I was created for this season of life in which I feel an unbridled passion for the work that God is doing in India and I am honored to be a part of it. As a player in a masterpiece that I have not authored, I cannot say for sure when I will be where, but what I know is that I am not on a break from the performance of life and participating in God's story...I am merely playing a different scene for the time being, though I would be remiss to leave out that I am waiting expectantly for the green light to go back...