Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Backflashes...

Today I wandered down memory lane.

I didn't plan on it, it just sorta happened. I was looking for a CD and since it wasn't already out I assumed it was in one of the black action packers stacked in my office. I opened one and not only did I encounter my CD/DVD booklets, and some sheet music, but I also encountered that oh so lovely smell....the smell of Africa.

I used to get it now and then, when I wore a shirt, or a pair of pants that were in Tanzania that I hadn't worn yet in the USA. But by now it is pretty safe to assume that all of my clothing has been worn or washed so it doesn't happen anymore. And although you may think it was a smell that caused me to step back, it wasn't. In fact I leaned in closer...

I bent over the chest and took a deep breath, and instantly my eyes closed and I saw Tedi on my back porch, I heard the horns of the cars honking on the street below my apartment, and I had images of the many people I loved in Tanzania. I remembered the friends I made, both international workers and Tanzanians, I remembered the hard times and the fun times. I nearly cried. What a strange 6 months it has been.

Then, I was talking with a co-worker about acculturation and culture shock upon a missionaries return to the USA. I started looking for some info I had dug up two years ago at this time and came upon some of my old papers and essays that I wrote in the acculturation process. It was numbing to say the least. I partly enjoyed going through them, but part of me also wanted to put it in a box and set it aside...my heart wasn't ready to grieve yet.

And so I wonder, how long is it really going to take before I feel at home here in the USA? How many more days, months, please don't even say years, will it be before I understand the society I am living in?

Backflashes. They are good, they remind us of good times, and hard times, of mountains and valleys, they also remind us of where we have been and help us to look forward to getting where we are going. Lord just help me get there in one piece.

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