I got an email today. And I won't put the email here, but in the end I was asked how I was doing at re-engaging in America.
A few of my words:
"Numb. That is a good way to describe it..."
"I crave time with other missionaries just to be around other people who might have felt this void in my heart, where I am in a love-hate relationship with the place I was and the place I am in, both at the same time..."
"I find myself wanting to isolate myself, because to be honest, my heart is bitter, and calloused, and the last thing I want to talk about is Tanzania...and well that is the main thing everyone wants to hear about..."
" I know it is unhealthy so I try to get out, hook up with friends, but then when I do I am faced with Africa, the last two years, and trying to explain it to a group of people who haven’t a clue...and so the cycle continues..."
"I have found that my current method of re-engagement has been to just do it. I don’t know how to behave when a group of people are together for a party, but I go anyhow. I feel like a wall-flower, and sit on the edge, mostly observing, because lets face it, I spent the last two years learning a culture in order to fit in, I find myself trying to do the same here, but it also makes me afraid of what if in trying to embrace this culture, I lose myself and lose what I learned in Tanzania I don’t know how to interact at church, but I go anyhow, I cry during worship because it doesn’t seem right, genuine, or how Jesus intended it to be. I don’t know how to do most things, but I try and mess up and laugh at myself and yes, at the end of the day some days I cry..."
What is interesting to me is that I didn't realize I had felt a lot of this until I sat down to respond to her email. I have been busy trying to restart life and the busyness has allowed a place to forget about the uneasiness of living life in America again. Really, don't get me wrong, I LOVE being home. But I also loved the home I had the last two years.
I love all that I have learned, and I love who I became in Tanzania. I felt like I became more of who I was created to be while I was there. I grew. I learned. I was stretched. I can't remember a time in my life where I felt like I knew myself better. I am just now trying to figure out how to put myself back in this society. It is also fun. I am still growing. I am still learning. I am still being stretched.