Friday, June 14, 2013

life as a post-grad, living in the in-between.

It's been a while. In some ways it seems like I've been home forever, and in others, it seems like I just got here. Moving home is no joke yall. As thankful as I am for it, and as fun as it can be at times, it is NO JOKE. The last time I really lived with my family I had a curfew and my own room. Now, I'm lucky that I found my own 1/2 shelf in the kitchen cabinet. Everything else is in storage, and my room now doubles as my dad's study and our extra storage. That being said, being around the Gilps is guaranteed a lot of laughs and a lot of healthy food, both of which I'm undoubtably grateful for. I've run into logistical issues, like knowing the fastest way to go anywhere. Take 1 car ride with me and you will discover that while I WILL eventually end up where I'm supposed to go, I will somehow always manage to pick to longest route. Part of that is that I just drive without really thinking about where I'm going. And part of it is that when I actually do think about where I'm going, the place has moved. Probably a whole 3 years ago, but how am I supposed to know that?! Being "from" somewhere, and living there are 2 totally different things. So part of my mission for the summer is to rediscover Augusta. If you've got any tips or favorite places, help ya sista out.

Leaving the orphanage was really hard for me. One reason was because I was so ready to see everyone back home, that I almost felt guilty for how excited I was to leave. I missed my family and puppy and community and friends and people, and was super ready to see them again. But leaving Maison was also hard because even though I want to go back to visit, a lot of the kids I am close with will soon be adopted. I had to leave them, understanding in my own heart that while they get the joy of a transition into their own family, this goodbye is probably our last one until heaven. I also had to leave the babies, the friends, nannies, co-workers, and other Haitian friends I had made. But I had to leave, and so I did. I came back to the States, graduated a week later, went to RUF Summer Conference at the beach, and then moved home. Since then, I've been back to Statesboro, drove up to Brevard, NC with some great friends to watch David Hart Sanders dominate on the field at an alumni football game, and went to Atlanta to be with my girl Mary Beth as she picked out her wedding dress. Busy busy, yes, but also PLENTY of down time. Like I said, it's been over a month. That's a long time when you're jobless and and don't know what to do with yourself. Hanging around my family has been one of the best things that's happened since I've been back. I've organized and reorganized storage of Betty's things, and am about to start the endeavor of painting ALL the wood trim in our house to brighten it up. (see yall in about 5 years)...

Doing all these seemingly "mundane" things keeps me thinking. I have started to process things I learned, and good and tough experiences I had. It also helps me process the transition from there to where I am now. Right before I left, I asked someone how the heck I was supposed to go back to "normal" life after living in a 3rd world country, where emotions are as extreme as people's living conditions, and everything is so much more real. She responded, "you don't."  While I didn't find it helpful at the time, I have started to realize that she is right. I can learn to overlook things that bother me about other people's actions, like wasting lettuce, complaining about every little detail, people wanting to go on a mission trip to "help poor people," or the fact that the lady at the eye doctor used 5 Kleenex to clean the lens for me. FIVE. Those things are like 50 cents a sneeze in Haiti.  *Side note: Yall, Target has an ENTIRE ISLE dedicated to Tide. One brand. I had to leave the store. Since then I've been back but I sure as heck haven't bought laundry detergent.* Anyway...
But the truth is I can't "go back" to the way I was, or the way I used to think. God has used this experience to change me. If we spent our lives, "going back, " we'd never get anywhere. I don't think God wants us to go back. I think he wants us to use our experiences to spring us forward, into whatever he has planned for us next. Because going back, it just doesn't get you anywhere. So I take what I've learned, and I have to filter everyday life through it. "Is objecting to blah blah blah really going to be helpful, or do you 2 just come from different perspectives?" It's almost always the latter.

Recently one lady had the guts to come up to me and say, "now that you're safe in America, I can stop praying for you. Glad you're back," as if she was only praying for me because she was terrified and convinced that I was going to be human trafficked or mobbed or stricken with disease or killed by an evil Haitian or something. Well, I'm so glad that she feels her job is done. The point is that I don't stop praying for my roommates just because we aren't living together anymore. I pray for them because I love them. And although I may have been in a higher stressed environment and had to take safety more seriously than other times while I was there, I need prayer now too. I need loving people to pray that I wouldn't just fill up my days with tasks and avoid talking to Jesus, because sometimes I don't even know where to start. I need someone to pray that I wouldn't turn into 15 year old me and storm upstairs when something doesn't go my way. I need prayer that I will be at peace with where God has me right now, in the seemingly mundane, in painting and in taking my grandma out to lunch, and in running errands, and in hanging out with my awesome youth group kids. Because really these things aren't meaningless. They're just different. And that's ok.