So my sister and I took off the end of this week to head up to the 'Big Country' in Abilene, TX to hang with my dad's family - my uncle and aunt and cousins and grandmother. This visit/stay is important to me because I have not seen these loved ones since my dad's funeral, a little less than a year and a half ago. I enjoyed most just being able to join my two youngest cousins in their lives and sitting with my grandmother and just chatting. Mema (what we all call her) had hip replacement surgery while I was in India ... so she looks amazing - much more well and youthful than I last saw her.
We also had a fun night when my junior in high school cousin came home after cheerleader stuff and remembered that she still needed to put together her spirit bag for her buddy football player. We stayed up until 2am baking brownies and cookies and just being goofy. Then the next morning (in reality, a few hours later) we went to her pep rally to encourage and support.
This proved to be a fantastic opportunity before I start back to work after Labor Day Monday.
My Sabbath is almost over here. Rest is nice; Reconnecting is better. Life is good.
My ability to remember is contingent on my willingness to write or record life.
Sometimes I think that I am so absentminded that if it were not for my calendar at hand and people (like my sister) to remind me that 'hey, rent is due,' I would be oblivious to large subtleties of life - say like being aware that I have not eaten all day (which I foresee happening once I again claim the busyness of life I was once so proud of).
All of this is to say that I am disappointed in my journaling efforts, either blogging or handwritten. I find myself in trains of thought as I work out things of faith, feelings of confusion or frustration, and revelations of God's good work ... but I neglect to record. And I know myself. I am not going to remember my mental, emotional, spiritual states that I have gone through this past month and the coming months unless I can turn back the pages of my mind a year down the road, a lifetime ahead and have a tangible witness of faith and God's ultimate faithfulness.
It is amazing to me, when I read what I have written during my time in India, the preparation of that step of faith and obedience, and the few years even before that when I became an earnest journaler. And yet, I am not spilling heart and mind on paper.
Being with this group made me aware of something that I had not realized previously. Besides the grandma chatter around the table about grandkids, kids, and friends, they brought up some very deep questions. I knew that many in and around my generation are more certain that truth is relative, and Christianity's view of only one way to God (i.e. Jesus) is arrogant, narrow minded, or just plain mean. But two generations above me are also questioning ("maybe there is more than one way up the mountain?") and pained with the idea that those who do not accept Christ are ... well, not with God in eternity. I was not quite sure how I wanted to respond to these gentle, earnest, compassionate grandmothers of the faith - except that I know what the Bible says, and I trust it as truth.
The second group of ladies I met this afternoon for their small group. There were five of us total, the oldest being in the upper 80s years old. I did my first India presentation. After that, we just sat around the dining room table and talked. One of the ladies commented that she never knew India was that beautiful - in a wonderfully amazed tone. I was even nearing the point of tears during one section. Overall, a good presentation (for me to see what to edit and them to "travel" to India) and fun with grandmas.
I am glad that I was asked to join in with these two groups of ladies, and learn and live and love with them for this moment.
Next presentation: I think in Austin at my sister's previous church - the church council ... or maybe to my work ... or maybe to my supporters/friends somewhere, some time. How's that for planning?
I have been anticipating this post for more than a week now - writing bit by bit in a seemingly incongruous order. I should just learn how to process out loud, but that is not really my style.
I have been thinking about where I am and where I should be. Who I am and who I should be. What I am thinking about and what I should be thinking about. In my heart, I feel that I am off. I am not sure how else to describe it. Not necessarily wrong or out of place, but off.
In my attempts to beat "culture shock" to the punch and anticipate where it might appear, I think I have set myself up in a virtual world that is not true.
I wanted to be so different. To be changed by what I have seen and experienced and developed as a new lifestyle. I thought that I might have trouble relating back to this culture. But I haven't. I cannot say that I feel different, that I think differently and act differently. It is like life (the life that I had before this past six-month stint) barely skipped a beat. I find myself upset that I fit too easily into the groove. Time change proved not even an obstacle, Wal-mart was no shock, driving was no big transition, and busyness seems natural and comforting. I wanted to be so world/global focused, with newly learned and honed compassions towards the hurting, the broken, the downcast, or downtrodden. But I can only see my self-focus. And I see others' prayerful concern for the nations. Where is my heart and mind?
Why is no transition-based anxiety bringing me anxiety? I did not foresee a depression that is based on the fact that I am not "rightly" depressed. Funny how my mind works.