As I mentioned before, I was a mess when I got home.
But there was other stuff, too.
For example, I remember shortly after I had returned to the United States thinking I should be writing. I knew there was a lot going on, and that I would be grateful to have it written down. And it’s funny because later, once I did start writing, I sort of kicked myself for not having done it all along. But when I got home, I had absolutely no desire to write. Like, there was zero percent of my being that felt like writing. I don’t think it was even “writer’s block” or whatever, I think I just did not feel like it.
Or maybe on some level, I knew what I needed the most was rest. After three years of such an intense experience in South Sudan, I needed a safe place to rest and recuperate.
Looking back on that first phase of re-entry in my home country, I wonder what exactly was happening, emotionally, with me. I think my emotions were on a temporary freeze. I mean, for the most part, I think they had been nearly nonexistent for quite some time while I was living in South Sudan.
I once had a vision while I lived in South Sudan that the thinking side of me started to carry the feeling side of me on her back, when the feeling side became too overwhelmed. This way the thinking side could keep going while the feeling side could rest a while and just be carried without having to look around. Does that sound weird? This is similar to the idea of God carrying us through challenging times, and maybe that’s what the vision was inspired by. Or maybe that’s what was really happening. God, I love that thought.
I think when I got home, this was still happening. It was like, let’s wait it out a little longer. You’re not ready to feel all of that AND all of this quite yet.
It wasn’t until about six months later, when I fell in love, that my emotional floodgates opened. Oh, to be in love! What a wonderful thing! Right? Well, yes. Wonderful and fun and exciting and sweet and blissful. And, terrifying. Imagine, there I was, rested, in a safe space and newly in love.
It’s hilarious because my prayer while I was nearing the end of my time in South Sudan was to be able to feel again, the way I used to. And all of a sudden, it was like, BAM! Here you go! When this happened, after such a long emotional hiatus, it was like feeling for the first time, as I child might!
It was at that point when I picked up a pen again.
It’s amazing how love inspires us.
And over the course of the last almost year and a half, it seems like I’ve been trying to find some sort of balance. The writing has been crucial in this process. The mess in my head and heart seems to be less so as I’ve been picking the pieces up and putting words to them. Of course, it’s not only the writing. It’s also friends and love and grace and music and movement and patience and faith and perseverance and God.
But I’m telling you, this writing thing is healing.