We’ve been back from Ecuador for a little over two years now. When we came back, well meaning friends who had been through it before us told me that it can take years to fully “return.”
I called hogwash.
I wasn’t going to be that person. I was so ready to be back and be settled. My trip on the struggle-bus was over, thank-you-very-much. Now give me my luggage and I’ll be on my way.
Someone keeps handing me tickets.
It really does take years.
We are two years in, and truth be told, I still feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Nothing is as it “should be”. It’s like being at the tea party and not knowing if you’re the Mad Hatter or the Dormouse…or maybe you’re both.
You will still be so very tired.
Two years in and I am still so very weary. Soul weary, not physical weary–although one does contribute to the other. I wobble between watching everything that’s happening in the world and wondering why no one sees it or seems to care…and then on the other side I can’t watch the news for fear that I might actually see it or seem to care.
There are no shortcuts.
Patrick is the shortcut king in our family. He is forever asking his dad if we are going to take a “shortcut” or a “long cut” to get where we are going. Re-entry has been one giant “long cut.” It’s like being on a road trip with a drunk Siri who keeps sending you off on detours, and just when you think you’ve finally arrived at your destination, the road ahead is closed. (Which is actually a reality where I live–Hamilton County, IN is the “You can’t get there from here” capital of the country right now).
You don’t want to go back…but staying here is painful too.
I have no desire to return to living overseas. I would not trade the time that we lived there for anything, but it was time for us to return. Our children and our grand baby are here, and we don’t ever want to be that far away from them again. That being said, as life continues to be so very hard here, sometimes staying isn’t all that much fun either.
I put up my Christmas tree this week, and I’ve slowly but surely been working on decorating my house. But my enthusiasm has disappeared–as I sat this morning looking at the tree, I thought “I should just take it all down and pack it away again”. I won’t, because I’m stubborn like that, but the thought did cross my mind.
There is joy in the journey.
Along with the pain and the frustration, there are moments of great joy as well. Weddings that we are here for. New babies to nuggle. Seasons that change.
Christmas trees. Bible study with a friend. Babies in Christmas dresses. Patrick’s first Youth Group sleepover. Weekend trips with my girls.
I know that someday, the pieces will fall into place and I’ll feel like we are finally “back.” My Type A personality wants that to be right now. No more detours please. I want be like Peter Pan…”second star to the right and straight on until morning.”
Unfortunately, life isn’t a fairy tale.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost