A little more than three years ago, I drew the above picture in missionary training. We had to draw it with our weak hand, a tangible reminder that moving cross-culturally makes one feel weak and lacking control. And, it makes one seem like a little kid – speaking in choppy, grammatically incorrect language, not understanding the simplest of things, like where to buy milk or how to pay a bill.In the center is me, feeling as if I was coming apart, nothing firm or attached anymore.
On either side, mountains. The left were the Blue Ridge mountains I was leaving, the right, the mountains surrounding Jarabacoa (notice the sun!).The arrows represented the pushing and pulling I was feeling as I was still in the process of raising support, packing up my things, saying goodbyes, etc. At times I wanted to give it all up and just stay in my nice, quiet, comfortable life.
The thorny branch stood for my dramatically thinning hair which I had named my ‘thorn’ and was praying God would take away or give me peace about.The heart in two pieces was how mine felt. Torn and jagged, impossible to fit back together.
I look at this picture and it seems as if I am in the exact same place. I am going from mountains to mountains.
I feel pushed and pulled, perhaps even more now, as I am not just leaving a beloved place and people, but heading back to one. There are so many expectations and thoughts and fears and questions!
The thorn? Yep, still an issue.
My heart has healed in many ways, but I am getting ready to let it be voluntarily be torn again.
Today I was driving in the frenzy that it always is here, and instead of being panicked, I knew how to handle it. I had easy conversations in Spanish with several people. I came home and went through the routine of unlocking the gate without a thought. Yesterday some of our friends and family came to help us clean the house. We sat on the front patio laughing and talking, and it was comfortable and familiar.I fit here, finally. And now that I do, it’s time to leave.
Three years ago I glibly wrote that being a missionary meant choosing to live in more than one world, and accepting that I’d never be completely comfortable in either ever again. It sounded wise and deep. Like I somehow ‘got it’ and so would be spared actually experiencing it.
Now I realize just how true those words were. And, I am learning that just because you know something, doesn’t take away the hurt of living it.I said I felt as if I was in the exact same place, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, the circumstance of tearing up roots mirrors that time. Yes, my heart is breaking again. But, I also know how much my heart needed to be torn, in order to be made healthier and stronger.
There was sickness that I had not dealt with which God has lovingly removed. In order to get at it, it was necessary for my heart to be opened up, the darkness exposed. The very act of being pulled apart is what brought more wholeness.
I pray that as I leave here and go there, I will once again be open to what God is going to do. In me, in Carlos, in those we will meet and reconnect with.
That instead of ignoring the pain, I will allow it to teach me more about our Wounded Healer’s love. He was torn for our sakes, and by His wounds we are healed. I pray He takes my brokenness, my torn heart, and uses them for His glory, no matter where He may lead!