Before Alice made it to Wonderland, she had to fall.
Do you ever get that sense of falling through life, as if you have stumbled upon a rabbit hole and when you finally hit the bottom, you will be a totally different person?
I do. And it’s right about now that I really want to grab ahold of something to stop falling.
As of today, I have packed up (mostly) all of mine & Jed’s belongings into five suitcases. And I think there are still clothes in the dryer as I write this. And two boxes of tea that I refuse to leave here. And a pair of hand-me-down rain boots that I am still debating taking back to the States.
Really, I just want to throw it all into the garbage & start from scratch when we touch ground in Monroe, Louisiana. But no one has money for that. So I have stuffed and thrown away and stuffed some more. As I cram another tank top into the minute spaces of my duffel bag, careful not to disturb the coffee mug beneath it, I am overwhelmed at the thought of going back to the United States. I am thrilled to finally hug my mom & smell my Aunt’s smell. I cannot wait to run around with nephews & siblings. I can already taste coffee & candy corn on grandma’s back porch as fall creeps in.
And then I realize that I am leaving Guatemala. I won’t see my friend’s baby girl walking across church for the first time. I won’t get to sit on the terrace & watch kids getting dropped off at school every morning. I won’t get to go to market with all the American teachers on a bright & early Sunday morning. I won’t get to hike through mountains or feel this cold chill that settles in the valley.
I am returning home, yes; but that home has subtly changed over the year that I have been away, and I am painfully aware of the fact that I really am starting all over. I am not returning to the same house, nor I am returning to a church that is exactly as I left it.
Here comes the falling sensation.
I always wonder if God really means for us to go through these things in order to shape us into more perfect beings. Like, surely He doesn’t mean for me to have to go through all the emotions that come with leaving again. I cannot count how many times this week I have broke out in random tears, nor can words explain the constant ache in my heart. We are already making plans for the next few months, and it is absolutely & numbingly terrifying. I start thinking about visiting people across the South & going to conferences in the fall, and my hands start to shake.
And then I think of Jesus kneeling at His disciples’ feet. Those twelve men were horrified at their Lord bending over to do the work of a servant, and Jesus looks up and says, I know you don’t understand this right now. But one day, you will.
I know you are confused my child, but this will all make sense in the end. I know you are scared & confused, beloved, but I will get you through this. It will all be for your good. It will all be for my good.
So I sit and I fold the rest of the clothes, and I pull out the rain boots. There is no way they can fit – the yoga mat takes precedence. I pray that my picture frames make it back in one piece, and I lift praises to God for the beautiful time He has given me here. I zip up the suitcase. I thank Him for His grace, for His wonderful provision.
Ok, God. I’ll start over once more, and as many times more as you require of me.