Reentry is this weird concept that you start talking and thinking about before you even leave for an experience- for me- the World Race.
You begin to think about who you’ll be when you come home.
I was terrified to even GO on the Race because I thought I’d come home as this creepily religious hippie that forgot to shave her armpits for months and threw her makeup into the Indian Ocean, taking a stand for women everywhere.
I thought I’d come home as someone that neither my friends nor family recognized, and I gave everyone in my life strict instructions to shower me, clothe me and give me a good slap if I came back as this terrifyingly weird version of myself.
Luckily, (as far as I am aware of), I did not come back creepily religious, I still believe in normal hygiene and I bought Calvin Klein perfume in the duty free on my way home. How wonderfully typical.
You also begin to wonder, as you’re processing ‘coming home,’ who your friends and family will be and if they’ll understand you.
I had this nightmare of sitting at Chili’s (I cannot explain the choice of restaurant) and trying to explain to my family and friends what had happened this year. They stared at me blankly and then told me with a condescending look that Jesus just isn’t real.
That didn’t happen either.
Not only have I not been to Chili’s (yet), but my friends and family have been wonderful. When I came home, my parents and sister asked thoughtful questions and allowed me to talk as much as I need to. For the most part we’ve just been hanging out and watching the Olympics- and my mom makes cookies. So essentially- perfection.
My best friends have blown my mind. You begin to wonder, after being away for so long, what your community will look like when you get home. You wonder if you’ll be running this race alone, or if there will still be people running hard next to you.
Well, not only has absolutely nothing changed (we laugh as much as ever), but after four seconds with them, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only one growing this year. They’re wise and prayerful and powerful and confident. They listen to me and I listen to them and we have spent a ton of time praying for each other in the past few days- walking through things (big and small) together.
The last thing that I wondered as I was preparing to come home, was what my relationship with Jesus would look like stateside.
Here’s what I thought would happen.
I thought that as I came home, I’d be lying on my face, begging Jesus to help me cope with the heartbreaking reality of using a microwave. I thought that I’d be a crying mess (which I’m not unless I’m watching the Olympics). I thought I’d be totally freaked out by America and her alien customs (Not true- I LOVE grocery stores, my car and free refills!), and I thought I’d be totally jetlagged (which has actually happened… so never mind.)
But either way, I thought that the first few days of me being home were going to be messy and full of tears and so hard that I just would fall in a crumpled ball in front of Jesus. I thought that it’d be a time of pretty intense intimacy with Him, just because I’d need Him so much!
But that hasn’t actually happened.
No freak outs, no microwave melt-downs, no phantom Chili’s experiences, no rejection of the American way of life.
In fact, I’ve been totally fine, great even!
And so because I’m not desperately falling at His feet- I’ve been confronted by a sneaky fear that Jesus didn’t actually come home with me from Malaysia.
I know what you may be thinking. Maybe something along the lines of a mission trip high, or how it’s easier to be a Christian overseas.
Well… contrary to popular belief- things aren’t that different here- there were malls and KFC’s pretty much everywhere we went, and actually there’s a million times more religious freedom HERE than there was in most countries around the world!
It’s not that America is this totally impossible place to be a Christian.
It’s just a weird transition, and it’s an adjustment to quiet my heart and connect with my Daddy when everything around me is swirling.
And so I just need a reminder that Jesus came home with me.
It’s like on a kid’s first day of school. He’s ready: He has his new shoes and shiny new lunchbox. It’s a moment he’s been preparing for all summer… but as he steps into his new classroom, he reaches back, just to make sure his dad came with him.
I’m not desperate and I’m not freaking out, but I want my Daddy here with me. I still want to know that He’s here to watch the Bachelorette and eat hummus with me. (Do NOT tell me what happens. I’m only on episode 7.)
And so that’s what I’ve been doing these last few days. Just reaching back for His hand- reminding myself that He’s here. Every once in awhile I’ll look up and just say “Hi Jesus.” And I feel like He smiles. It’s not a profound prayer- it may not even be a prayer at all. But it’s just the tiniest and most perfect way of reminding myself that I’m not alone. Not now, not ever.