Since our return, we've worked through many different experiences and stressors. We experienced reverse-culture shock as daily we met up with friends and family who we hadn't seen for 2 plus years. In addition, we felt the stress of a MUCH more hectic pace than we were accustomed to. All the "new" things (electronics, foods, restaurants, stores) added to the overwhelmed feelings we experienced. Many of those feelings have subsided now as we have said all of our hellos and have settled back into the less stressful environment of our own home. We are so grateful to the Lord for a home to return to.
Now that we're coming out of that initial overwhelming time of arriving and settling in, the grief and loss of our life in Namibia is really hitting. In the time we were traveling home and just arriving, things were so crazy and hectic, it was easier to put those emotions on the back burner because we had so many pressing issues to deal with at the moment.
The sadness and the grief runs deep, especially as I deal with missing our boys. They are always on my mind, and sometimes I am at a loss for how to deal with the grief that I feel. I cry very easily, a song or thought sends me into tears in a moment. When I check the weather on my iPhone, if Otjiwarongo's current forecast comes up and I see that it's dark and cold there, I feel a pit in my stomach and wonder where they are and what they're doing. Are they gathered around the fire keeping warm? Are they finding food? Are they missing us? How are they coping with that grief? Sundays are the worst, I'd give anything to have them all here gathered around my table enjoying a good meal. I feel sick when I must throw away leftovers, desperate to find someone to share them with.
It is so hard to respond when kind, well-meaning friends ask us how we are adjusting or better yet, "Are we all adjusted now?" I don't think I'll ever be adjusted. And honestly, I don't want to be. When we were in Africa, there were so many things we missed so desperately. For me, the thing I missed the most were things to do, places to go. Since our return, we've been blessed with all kinds of wonderful adventures…boating and tubing on the lake, weekends up north, farmer's markets, movie theaters, restaurants with GOOD tasting food, and the list goes on; all the things we'd been dreaming of. But now, though I enjoy these experiences immensely, my "experience" is different. Everything I see and do and hear is filtered through this new perspective. In the back of my mind is always the knowing that they are still there. The boys are still there. The location is still there. Our friends are still there. And this has changed everything for me.
For Geoff and I, one of our greatest fears is settling back into this "American Dream" lifestyle. Though our time in Namibia was incredibly difficult spiritually and emotionally, we were forced to rely on the Lord for our daily bread. We lived on Him. He sustained us one day at a time. We knew we were there for a purpose and we had opportunities to live out that purpose every day. We pray for that kind of life here in the US too, though it will much more difficult to cultivate. In Namibia, it just came naturally (smile).
With God's grace, we move forward one day at a time, trusting in His plan for our lives here. We know he brought us back to the US for a purpose, but we have yet to discover his plan for Geoff and I here. The kids are doing well and enjoying all the people and opportunities they've missed. When we see their happiness, we know we've done the right thing for our family, though our hearts ache at what we've left behind. Our hearts are still in Africa, and we trust that if it is God's will, He will bring us back there when the time is right. We must be fully surrendered to Him. It is up to him where he will use us, and we must be fully available to serve him whole-heartedly in whatever place he chooses. We've experienced the joy of serving him obediently where he leads, even to the hard places, the hot, dusty, and often dark places. But oh the joy of being where He's placed you. It is rarely easy, but it's always good.