Reverse culture shock. I've heard the phrase. I admit. I thought it was probably a bunch of malarkey. I've yet to even google it.
I lived in the US for 33 years. Surely leaving America for 10 months would not turn me into a basket case weirdo.
Thankfully I'm on the farm, far away from lots of people and big-city suburban life. This farm makes sense to me. This way of life...simple...staying put...it is a source of comfort...a soft landing back into this country that I love and yet don't feel like I understand anymore.
I went into College Station yesterday for the first time. First stop: Target. Second stop: Church. Hello America. Why don't I just crawl right up on your lap, suck my thumb, twirl your hair, and sit for awhile?
Half way through church I felt the sudden, intense desire to disappear. "This was a bad idea." I wanted to close my eyes, wiggle my nose, and be back on the farm sitting cross-legged in the middle of a pasture so I could think....alone. A trip to Target and 20 minutes of church. I'm thinking re-entry into America should be approached like a crossfit workout. You need intervals. Jump in for a few minutes. Grab some water (or something stronger), sit down, and think.
I need to think.
At this point, I don't really trust much of what I'm feeling and am certainly not in a spot to process my thoughts out loud. I'm afraid my musings would come out in a giant, jumbled mess, and make me sound like those people that used to drive me nuts...the America haters.
I'm not an America hater. I'm in love with all this hot water and never-ending electricity. I love ice cream, smooth roads, the smell of clean air as I run. Something about the beauty around me has brought me to tears every single day since I've been home. I love this place. Particularly this farm. Particularly Texas. Most importantly, these people.
I don't want to come across like a judgmental jerk or a sad...oh. so. sad...person. So I think I have to be honest with myself, and all of you who are in this with us and say that I'll need some time to process. I need time to think about church, the messages I'll hear, and the things that are important here while this other big thing called Haiti...the people...the images...the injustice...the joy...simultaneously run through my mind.
This place is very different from the one I left behind. The God I love and yell at is not the God I knew when I lived here. This world is a lot more broken than I thought 10 months ago. The needs so much more real. Quick, easy answers are laughable to me. I feel unsure and every single thing about life seems extremely complex. Everything I see and hear is now running through this other enormous filter called Haiti. It makes my brain very tired and my soul heavy. It makes me thankful, content, and yet angry and frustrated. I'm sure somewhere in the mix of all those emotions I'll find truth.
Bear with me.
There is so much beauty around me. God truly uses this farm with its wide open fields and buffet of all that is beautiful to heal me. Our family and friends are a true place of safety and love for us. I feel God's hands on me. It brings me joy to post pictures of smiling cousins, belly-laughing children all wide-eyed and wild as they wrap themselves up tight in swim towels and creation. But behind the scenes, know that I'm asking God to bring clarity to my thoughts and speak peace over my troubled heart. I'm a mess. Perhaps I'm supposed to write about those feelings. Maybe one day. But not until I understand my own heart better and not until my thoughts are iced with grace. Maybe God will sort out some of these feelings, and whisper gently for me to keep them to myself, fold them up tight and stick them in my pocket. I guess we will wait and see.
For now I'm going to keep it light on the blog. Life is odd, isn't it. In the midst of feeling like a wreck, my days are also full of love, laughter, doing Insanity workouts with my sister-in-law, hanging with my dad, watching my boys find adventure after adventure, and holding my adorable nieces. I'm going to post about that stuff while I think the deep, down, possibly crazy thoughts.
I offer a retroactive apology to everyone I thought was ridiculous for claiming to have reverse culture shock. Will there ever come an end to my pride and stupidity? It's doubtful.