Our journey home has been more challenging than I expected. We left Ethiopia at 10:30 at night and spent the next 18 hours on that one plane. It was a very long journey just to get back in the states. My mind wanted to start processing but I just couldn't allow myself to go there yet. So, I responded with two sleeping pills and cranking my music as loud as I could. This worked well until about 17 hours into the flight and my ipod died (sad when the flight outlasts the ipod). After that flight, we ran through the DC airport to just barely catch our connection (Thank you United for holding that flight, because the jerky TSA agent at Customs was not sympathetic). Flew 2 hours to Chicago where by the time we made it to the gate, it was already time to board and then spent what felt like an eternal 5 hours on that plane. Exhausted was an understatement. As excited as I was to return to my babies, I did not expect such sadness and grief to be back on American soil. My soul longs to be back in Africa already. I didn't expect to wake up to tears rolling down my cheeks my first morning back here or to look forward to being on my FB in the early morning or late evening hours because it explodes with messages from new friends I met in Ethiopia. I feel broken. And I guess I am. Broken because that is right where God wants me to be right now.
My feet left Ethiopian soil 1 week ago. And I miss it. I miss it so much and honestly, that wasn't supposed to happen. The days leading up to our trip, I was just looking forward to going and getting it over with so I could come home and get back to my life without this trip looming over me. But now I don't know how to get back to "normal" life. I don't want to go back to normal life. My heart longs to be walking back through the streets of Korah because no matter how disgusting it was, I have never felt closer to God. I normally would have been terrified of all the disease and sickness around me and yet in those moments the only thing I cared about was meeting as many needs as we could and sharing Jesus with these people. There is still much work to be done there.
I long to be back with the orphaned children who are the most incredible kids I have ever met. Who just long for someone to connect with them and give them a little bit of special attention. I want them all to know they are loved. I want more time with them.
I know some of these feelings are normal as we return to our life in America. But I know us well, and feelings like this demand change in our lives. We're talking about things that I never in a million years thought we would consider. Nothing in this world feels better than living in the center of God's will for your life. We could live the rest of our lives with general happiness regardless but more than anything we long to live in God's will. We're trying to decipher what that is right now. So we pray. I'm just now starting to scratch the surface of processing this trip. I was mentally and physically just too exhausted this first week back home. It's still a difficult task for me and I have to just take baby steps forward. My heart is heavy and I want to do so much more. This trip really was just the beginning!