I’ve been home a week.
And all those times I dreamt about no longer living out of packing cubes. That takes work. Anything not furniture and not eleven months old is in a box… somewhere. Anything clothing is mostly not fitting. And anything relational is complicated at best.
My mother will certainly be canonized a saint for her resilience through the decisions I’ve made and unmade this week and the process of getting me to a wedding in Nashville a mere three days after coming home.
Sometimes I forget the reality of a year. I wonder why things are so different, why things that used to be so easy are for some reason REALLY IMPOSSIBLY hard all of a sudden. And I’m gently reminded… a year.
A full year.
And a year full.
Full of deep conversations. Full of questions and reading. Full of doubt and revelation. Full of joy and full of heartbreak.
I ate a lot of rice, and taught Ntsiki her multiplication tables. I walked the streets of Cambodian slums and watched the sun set in Lesotho. I made hard decisions and cried myself to sleep more than once. I traveled by tuk-tuk and foot, almost never by car.
I wore basically the same thing every day, and it never involved makeup. When wifi was available I messaged family first then the closest of friends. Nobody freaked out when I hadn’t called in three weeks, one of the greatest gifts of having people who ‘get it’ in your life.
I read my Bible every day. Not out of legalism or duty. But because it’s how God speaks to me. I prayed really big prayers and got to see some of them come true. Others I continue to pray and believe for.
I’ll be honest with you, I cried coming home. Walking the airport terminal alone for the first time, so thankful for that season… and also feeling not ready to come back, as though I was just getting the hang of some really important new things- afraid they’d vanish when I returned home.
Life on the race was a cocoon, a boot for a fractured food if you will, and I wasn’t ready to take the boot off and try my new tricks in the big old real world.
But here I am in the big old real world, one week later, and I remind myself as often as I need to-I’m not all things for everyone I know. I don’t have to push or earn. I don’t have to unpack in record time or make every decision perfectly.
Here’s the good news, I can rest when I’m tired, read when I’m hungry for words, reach out when I’m lonely.
I don’t have to be strong all the time, or on all the time, or talking all the time. I can say, “no” to that breakfast date.
And under that, the deep foundation for that, more good news: God made me, he loves me, and he’s inviting me into a way of living that’s drenched in grace, in true rest, in connection and communion with him and with each of you.
It’s easier for me to live that way in a beautiful cocoon place, surrounded by babies and culture and big mountains.
But it will get easier, day by day, to live that way here, too, at the chiropractor, and Target, and when I’m answering email, even when I’m walking into a new season of responsibility and expectation.
This is what I know: I tasted something on the race, in Southern Africa specifically, that I want to experience every day of my life. I felt connected to the people, to the God who made me, to the beautiful world he created.
So how was the race? It was one of the greatest gifts I’ve even been given, and it gave me a vision for how I want to live August, and September, and on and on.
The race was communion filled and grace-filled. To use Shana Niequist’s metaphor, It was a year with training wheels on, teaching me to live a new way, and I’m going to ride this fancy new two wheeler all over the neighborhood, thankful for every moment I rode with the training wheels on, getting me ready to ride in the big old real world.