I'm going to try to type this post without sobbing all over my keyboard!
After three months of living and working in a country and culture VERY different from my own, one might think I was really to hop on the plane and come home to all of my comforts, my family, my friends, and my home...oh, and my favorite foods! Quite the opposite was true.
Blaise and I had almost two weeks together in Uganda before we had to head back home, and it was such a great time of exploring, praying, and reflecting. Our time in South Sudan had been pretty intense, so we tried hard to process what we had experienced, while at the same time trying to live it up while we could in Kampala. It was an absolute whirlwind of activity, with several lazy afternoons scattered throughout. The time flew by, and before I knew it I was writing out thank-you cards and saying final goodbyes...to people I had come to love over the course of three months...to a culture that I truly appreciated...to a place that had stolen my heart. (See, I'm crying already.) The only reason I didn't physically kick and scream all the way to the airport is because it would have been pointless...and Prossy would have been a little freaked out! =)
The only good part about leaving was that I had had the opportunity to experience it with Blaise by my side. He and I share the whole bleeding-heart-fall-in-love-with-people-quickly-get-attached-hate-leaving problem, so I was thankful that I had him next to me when I was feeling the pain come over me in waves. I was thankful that he had also given his heart to the Sudanese and Ugandans, and had loved both South Sudan and Kampala. I was thankful that he was my silent strength as I cried each time our connecting flight took off, as I watched us get further and further from East Africa on the map, as I was thrust back into the Western world.
It's still hard being home, after nearly two months. That's what happens when you love a place so deeply and passionately, when you want nothing more than to serve the people God has set your heart on fire for, when it feels like you were born for that life. It's hard to leave it.
As we flew home, I wrote down many different verses that reminded me that God's timing and purpose is always so much greater than my own, even when I can't see it through the thick fog of emotion. I am thankful for every single minute of my experience, even the really difficult parts, because I learned so much more about myself and my God. I treasure the moments when I was frustrated, because God was stretching me. I remember the pain I felt at the suffering around me, because God was deepening my compassion. I savor the quite moments I had with God when He showed me more of His will for me. And I definitely relish every minute when Blaise was by my side, seeing, feeling, hearing, breathing, and walking in a place and with a people whom God has burdened us to serve.
So yes, even if you ask me today, I will tell you that I'm trying to learn how to be content in every situation, but I still miss Uganda and South Sudan with an ache that has only dulled slightly over time, but which had not gone away!
A random picture from the McDonald's at the Frankfurt airport in Germany. This tasted good going down, but...