June 6th came and went without fanfare this year. Last year, it was the day I dreaded. This year, I didn’t even notice its passing until a week later.
Two years ago, on June 6th, we flew home from South Asia on medical leave. The kids and I never went back.
Isn’t it funny how life is full of sadness and happiness, all mixed in together? For awhile there I was afraid to say I missed South Asia because I didn’t want to sound ungrateful.
I’m healthy now, aren’t I? I’m able to be the wife and mother and friend I longed to be and couldn’t when we lived there. I love my husband’s job more than I thought possible. I have a home and a community right here.
But now I’m a tad bit older, and I know that’s it’s okay to feel both ways. It’s okay to be so very happy and content and to love my life, and it’s also okay to be sad sometimes. There’s an ache that I don’t notice for weeks on end, then sometimes it sneaks up and takes my breath away. A photo. A smell. An accent. The way the woven fabric of my green blanket feels against my leg transports me back to the shop where I bought it.
Two years later we still have questions. Sometimes David and I sit in the quiet of an evening at home or a date night and one of us will speak, What if? What if we hadn’t left? What if we could’ve kept our dream and it got better and better and we were there right now?
We don’t have answers of course. You could say God brought us home to plant a church in Columbia. That’s part of it, but what a roundabout, inefficient, expensive way to go about doing it, huh? If that’s what He really wanted, why did we ever have to leave and have to suffer?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that God is not efficient and He doesn’t have to explain Himself to me. Beware of people who try to explain God to you, who try to wrap suffering and mystery up in a pretty package. God is wild and free and so much bigger than we can imagine.
I trust Him more than ever though, you know? Even in the ache. He knows. He knows exactly what He’s doing. Maybe one day I’ll know too, maybe I won’t.
There’s healing in crying sometimes, in missing my friends and my apartment and my house helper and the food. In missing the quirkiness and color and exasperation of life overseas.
I miss the South Asia part of myself, who hailed auto rickshaws and greeted in Hindi and navigated crazy city streets on foot to buy vegetables. Will I ever meet her again?
A couple months ago our friend Brewer sat across our table eating lunch and asked us, “Would you do something for me? Would you tell me your story of South Asia?”
So we told him. The words caught at first, but then they tumbled out faster. He listened. We talked. And there was healing in remembering. We realized, South Asia is part of the fabric of our being and that will never change.
I still ache for it sometimes, but mostly I thank God fervently, over and over, for letting me live there. Eighteen months didn’t feel long enough but it was the exact length of time He had for us to be there. It was hard and shocking and so beautiful.
I thank Him for the gift of South Asia, and I thank Him for rescuing me and giving me a new gift.
I thank Him for the quiet beauty of my life now that fits like a glove.
Two years later, He’s good.