I’m about to get real. So real I can’t believe I’m writing this for anyone to read. But here’s the raw truth, or at least part of it. Since coming back to the US, I have been desperately lonely. I don’t know how to really interact with people. I don’t usually say the right things in conversation (as noted in last week’s post). I put up walls and talk really loud and laugh a lot. I have an opinion on everything. But I am drowning in the deep dark oceans of reverse culture shock. My college, being very new still, does not have a study-abroad program. Several students have been overseas, but there is no easy way to connect with these students about our frustrations. It requires a lot of vulnerability, and to be honest, I don’t think we can handle it. I think we’re too scared to be the first to say, “I feel alone. I am broken.”
What makes it harder is that most of us who have been overseas for any length of time were doing missions work. We’re supposed to have had this great experience of God and feel all sorts of pity for those poor people in other countries who live without daily Starbucks and consistent internet. So if we don’t feel those things, what are we supposed to do?
Because let me tell you: I don’t feel that way. Sure, I experienced God in amazing ways this summer. Of course I saw Him work. Yes, I was moved to tears at times. But the truth is, I don’t pity my friends in Mexico. If anything, I envy them. I wish I could spend all my time hugging little kids and having deeper talks with teens. Yes, they come from bad situations. Of course I wish that these things had never happened to them. But what I have learned is this: God can take every broken heart, every tear-stained face, every bitter child, and He can give them a home. A home that, while not perfect, will shelter them from abuse and will fill them up with good things. Guardians who will teach them what’s important in life. And these children can–and not uncommonly do–grow up and come back to the home so they can invest in the broken, angry, tired children who come after them. They grow up to live full lives. Sure, they might not get their daily Starbucks, but what’s that matter? Those kids LIVE.
I’m not sure this post went where I intended it to, but I guess I’ll end with this: I”m lonely. I’m broken. I’m not perfectly all right yet. And that’s okay. My summer has changed me a great deal. I’ve not processed everything yet. I’m not entirely sure what it all means. But as I sit in the dimly lit chapel on campus and listen to my peers sing, I am reminded that there truly is no one like our God. I know that the God who hears the frightened child in an abusive home at night also hears a confused young woman in a college chapel. I know that He hears me and that He care.
So I may be lonely and confused and angry for a time, but the God who was too big for death is the same God who cares about every frustrated tear I cry.
And that is enough to make me write.