I’ll be honest, I’ve thought about what this first post was going to look like for a really long time. Like, inordinately long. I’ve probably been staring at my computer screen for all of five seconds, but the truth is, I’ve been trying to write this blog for going on two months. There’s a simple reason for that:
It’s as long as I’ve thought about reentry.
Sometimes, I’ve felt like this should be something of a thesis statement, an introductory paragraph to the rest of my life, something I can look back on in two or three or eighteen months and say, “Oh, right. That’s what I was supposed to be doing.”
But I don’t have a thesis statement. Not–anyway–one that’s going to define what I’ll be doing with the rest of my life, or even, in the next stage of life. God and I aren’t really talking about all that.
To be really honest, God and I haven’t been talking much at all since I came back. Not for lack of wanting to on either part, I think, just that I’ve been avoiding the oncoming brokenness like a toddler avoids fast-moving traffic: clumsily and with little success.
I’ve been making a lot of headway on my “To Do” list, which, before I left Malawi, had about eighteen things on it. It has about seventy-six on it now, more as a way to keep myself from going crazy than anything else. I just can’t go there yet.
I just can’t go there yet. Not to Guatemala. Or Cambodia. Or Malaysia. Or Uganda. Or Malawi.
For some reason, I’m stuck on Guatemala today.
I did my laundry for the first time since getting back from my 11 month-11 country extravaganza. In it, I found this green hoodie sweatshirt that I inherited around month five. The previous owner considered it too hot in Cambodia to keep and-knowing how much I loved it-saved it until he could hand it over to me. It might be the only piece of either of our wardrobes that made it back to the US with us.
Anyway, I pulled this sweatshirt out of the dryer today and was completely caught off guard. It was a flashback, a memory of a day when he and I were not yet friends, not yet even comfortable around each other and we were bumbling around in our Antigua laundry room trying to get past each other. He had the hoodie on top of the clothes, just crumpled there like it hadn’t been washed at all.
I don’t know why it’s so vivid to me right now, but I literally must have stood at the dryer for a solid twenty minutes, just hanging onto this dumb green sweatshirt like it was a climbing rope and I was sitting on the jutted out side of an otherwise sheer cliff, just deciding if I was going to jump or not.
I didn’t cry. Saltwater seem to be stuck somewhere beneath my tearducts. Sometimes it burns with the effort of coming up. Mostly, I’ve been able to ignore it.
But there are days, there are moments, when I’m standing at the laundry machine with his hoodie in my hands that just make me wonder what even happened to me this year and how I’m ever going to really come back.