I agree that it's dangerous for me to have so much time to myself since it inevitably gets me thinking about odd, sentimental and superfluous tangents. I just can't help myself.
A brief disclaimer first: This post will be partially about England. My apologies if you're sick of hearing about it. If you are, get your blinders and 'muffs on now. It's my blog and I can rant if I want to.
I'm tired of not knowing what I'm meant to be doing with my life. It seems that everywhere I look, there are successful people my age (and younger) who've figured out their life's purpose and are quite happily taking steps in their respective directions. Friends and cousins my age are buying houses, starting families and reaping the benefits of work-sponsored health insurance. People I used to laugh with in the dorms have traded in their carefree two-door vehicles for SUVs and are now toting diaper bags and strollers instead of laptop bags and backpacks. My biggest concern about what to carry during the days rests on which bag is most practical. Oh, and my trusty Ozarka bottle.
For two years, I was "someone" in England. I was the girl with the American accent. I was the mission worker who was known by many people in the small community where I was living. For 24 months, I organized activities with young adults, volunteered with community programs, and spent numerous hours working for a church who wanted my help. I had specific tasks, loyal friends and, perhaps most obviously, an esteemed status. I was valued, I was unique and I was noticed.
I woke up the other morning and actually cried a bit because I couldn't believe my England life was finished. (I'm not saying this to gain sympathy; trust me, I can throw my own pity party beautifully myself.) But it's amazing to me how one 8-hour flight from Birmingham, UK to Detroit turned things around so quickly. When I arrived back in the States, the sound of American accents had me overjoyed. I was thrilled to be back home amongst the family and friends I had missed so terribly. Being welcomed back at the airport by loved ones made the homecoming even sweeter, and my friends even went to the trouble of bringing me some of my favorite American treats to make sure I knew how much I was loved and missed.
So why on EARTH am I not overflowing with gratitude? Why can I not just accept that my time in England is done and that my life in America must now recommence? Why can't I just be happy with a church family who is doing their best to support me during this time? How long will I feel out of place and what can I do to change that? WHEN WILL I BE NEEDED AGAIN?
It's funny the random things you remember. At a birthday party for a friend of mine in elementary school, I remember asking my friend's mom if I could help do something. She told me that if she needed my help, she would ask. It struck me as odd even at the time that she would be so short with me, but I never forgot her mannerisms and sometimes I get that feeling all over again. "Does anyone want me to help them?" "Is there a place for me anywhere?" "Have I nothing special or unique to offer to anyone??" --- Feeling unnecessary or easily replaced is like getting a Charlie Horse in the middle of the night: it's painful, obvious and uncomfortable, but it eventually goes away. Or does it? I've been home for 14 weeks now, but I still feel like I'm sitting awkwardly on someone else's couch.
I'm tired emotionally and spiritually.
When I tell people that I've been doing mission work for two years, I get a lot of raised eyebrows, "Wow!"'s and "Well, that's great"'s. I immediately feel like a disappointment because the level of my faith right now wouldn't be able to tell anyone I'd been immersed in church work if words weren't available. It's hard to describe, and I can barely understand it myself, but it's so difficult to keep an even balance between "church" and "work" when church IS your work. In Loughborough, I was spending several hours a day and nearly everyday at the actual building working on different things. When you see the inside of a building that often, it's hard to switch on the "worship" button when you enter on Sunday mornings, nights, Monday nights and Wednesday nights. It all started to feel the same and spiritual complacency dampened the passion I had in the beginning.
I'll be honest: I'm searching. I'm looking all over for my faith again because I know it can't be far. Since I've returned, I've spent time at different congregations desperately seeking the "Everglow" (thanks, Perrey's) I once had. My Thomas heart wants to believe I'll get back to "normal" but the Purgatory in the meantime is killing me.
At 26, I'm trying to make healthy decisions that will lead me down paths of service, humanitarianism, aid, betterment, Journalism, happiness and contentment. I know I'm capable of achieving greatness, but I'm not patient enough to wait around for it. I'd start yesterday if I knew which direction to go. Due east to volunteer relief? Or should I take a right and author my first novel? I want to be someone others look to for guidance; I'm not good at being in the passenger's seat.
I'm ready to be "someone" again. Perhaps God only made me that "someone" for a season? Who knows? I miss England -- and the people there -- every day and I know I always will. But for now, I really want to concentrate on who I aspire to be while still remembering the people and experiences who have made me into me. I know I'll go back to Britain again so now I should be looking ahead with anticipation for the unknown that lies before me. I've decided to follow Paul's example to be "content in all circumstances". The future looks bright and I know I am "someone" to God, so what else matters? I've got a new place to live, great family and friends, my '96 Corsica and a heart to perservere. Oh yeah, and that trusty bottle of Ozarka water.