I haven’t written a blog post since returning to the states. Our lives seemed like they were in the midst of chaos before we left Peru, and I can’t say that it’s gotten much better. I have several stories that I want to eventually record, but tonight I want to document something that happened a couple of weeks ago (on AG’s birthday).
First of all, culture shock hits a lot later than I thought, and I realize it will still creep up on us over the years. I left Peru stressed, and it has felt like a continual state of stress since coming back. There is a lot going on in my head. I am thinking so much about preparing for the future (getting my license renewed to teach, going through the process to get my license in a new state). I am thinking through the logistics of a cross-country move and what that will do to our eight-year-old that already is having a hard time dealing with this move. I am trying to be mom in a different routine and live with my parents (who I am beyond grateful for, but come on, who wants to live with their parents?). I am dealing with changes in the culture, and I am trying to fit how I have changed (which is a lot) into this new mold that I used to call “home” but doesn’t quite feel like home anymore.
On top of all of these things, I have allowed my grief for Peru to stay deep inside of me. If you know me, you are probably surprised. I am one to wear my emotions on my sleeve, but apparently I only have so much sleeve space, and my body just doesn’t have the emotional energy to focus on it all.
We ended up being in TX with Greg’s family on AG’s actual birthday. We tried to make it as special as possible. She got her ears pierced, and we went to see the new Cinderella movie (which I highly recommend). We had a special dinner with milkshakes afterward. She opened presents from her cousins and grandmother and us. I had picked out a birthday card for her and written a very long letter to her inside.
To me, this birthday was an important day to remember. It’s the birthday between two major life transitions for us. In the letter, I explained to her how proud we are of her and all that she has been through and will go through. I explained that she was one of my constants going to Peru, and I wouldn’t know our life there without her. And now we are making another life transition to a new place, and she will be right there with her brother, sister, and Daddy as my constants. She was so excited to open her gifts that evening, that when she saw how long my letter was in the card, she exclaimed, “Momma! I don’t have time to read this!” She wanted to play with her new things and share the fun with her cousins. She’s eight. I didn’t really expect her to want to read a big, long letter. 🙂
Fast forward to after all the family leaving, her little siblings in the living room engrossed in a movie… AG was not in the living room. I walked back to her bedroom in her grandmother’s house, and I found her laid across the bed, buried in her pillow crying. After she heard me come in, she sat up slowly to look at me, eyes red from crying and a tear-streaked face. She was holding her birthday card.
me: Ana, I am so sorry. I never intended for that card to upset you like this.
Ana: Momma, it’s just so sweet. (blubbering it out just.like.momma)
She went on to tell me that she missed Peru and all her friends there so much. In that moment, I couldn’t hold it in. I began to sob with her. We held each other, and we cried. I told her that I missed Peru and my friends too. I told her that it’s okay to be angry and sad about it. I told her to cry as much as she wanted. I told her that I am scared to move again, but that I am so thankful to have her with me when we make the move.
Reentry is not fun. Transitions hurt. But one thing I feel that Greg and I have learned, it does no good to try and hide it from our kids. Ana is not in the dark on how I feel right now. We transition together. We cry together. We will rebuild together.
Our teammates that went to Peru with us just returned to the states yesterday. They will be coming to our home town in a couple of weeks to spend time with our sending church. Our sending church is dedicating a special Sunday to the work in Peru. This past Sunday the preacher just mentioned our teammates and how they were spending their last moments with the church family in Peru. I lost it. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I later told the preacher that if one simple comment makes me cry, I am in for a lot of tears at the end of the month at this special dedication service.
I look forward to that Sunday. I feel like it will give me some closure to a lot of grief I have kept inside. It will be so good to dedicate a morning with my church family thinking about all the things God has done over the past 7 years in the Peru work, and that will be good for my heart.
As for AG, I am so prayerful for her. It is still so hard to not focus on all the negative things that come from our decisions as her parents. A dear friend reminded me today that God is faithful. He called us to Peru, and we answered that call. He did things we never imagined while we were there. He is now calling us somewhere else. He will be faithful again. He calls. We choose to follow. We don’t serve a god of comfort. We serve a God that makes all things new. He will work for his glory. And AG is part of that plan.
“Some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”