I don’t think that it’s really possible to explain the re-entry process unless you’ve been there and done it. Coming back to America after being gone for so long, is quite a tornado of emotion. We’ve been calling my sweet niece Kate “Sweet Tornado”. I think coming back to America is its own kind of sweet tornado. Dave said something like this to me today while trying to explain his emotional state. He said something like…. I don’t know how to put it in to words, but I know you understand.
Dave and I have just come back from two nights away together in Connecticut. Such a good time. The first nights I’ve spent without any children since Sam was born in May 06. We were able to take some time to reflect on where we are in our marriage, our ministry, our family. And where we’re going. We were able to ask ourselves some tough questions. Two nights ago we sat together eating seafood by the sea in a candle lit room. “What would Dankarami say about this?” one of us asked. All this luxury. “I don’t want to think about it,” I answered. It’s embarrassing.
And we’re faced with it again. So much blessing.
Each time we come back to our homeland it strikes us in a fresh way.
Sunday at church I was unprepared for the emotion that overflowed down my cheeks. Realizing, as the moment hit me, that I hadn’t felt so much freedom in worship- the freedom that comes with speaking your own language- in about a year and a half. Overwhelmed with gratitude to be THERE in that moment standing with Dave and his parents and my brother and sister in law. Enjoying the message given in English. Not having to concentrate on translation. The ability to relax and receive what God had for me that day. A church service that included nursery for my kids. And the Ghanaian woman sitting next to me in her pania dress. Making me wish I had worn mine too. I love Worchester First Assembly and their congregation full of Africans.
I am trying not to concentrate on the things I want to buy. The pressure to look good that comes with being here. Blow drying my hair. Should I wear makeup? Wanting new ear rings and a new pair of shoes. How much time I spend in this place with thoughts revolving around my own vanity. Where does that come from? The other day Sam said to me, “In Africa you always wear a skirt, but in America you always wear pants.” He’s learning about the dual roles we play.
And in all of this, there is an excitement in my boys. The buses, and airplanes, and helicopters that they can spot at any moment. Nathaniel is saying “AIRPLANE!” now as he spots them in the sky. This afternoon as we headed back to Grammy and Papas Sam asked if he could go to Amber and Ashley’s house. I knew what he meant. He misses home. Niger.
our funny American cousins
This transition is hard for each of us in different ways. We love the adventure, the fun, the time with family. But the longer we are gone from home the more we wonder where our home is. And I’m reminded…. We are strangers, we are aliens, we are not of this world.
Tomorrow we will bury my father in law’s best friend, Bill. He’s truly home. I’m glad for the reminder.
our Johansson family