I have been back in the US for over two months.
That’s a wild concept to grasp considering I had a pretty solid plan of living in India until August – but how often do things in my life go according to my plan? Not very often.
Despite my desire to lay low and transition in solitude back to the US, it only took a few days before others found out that I had been called home from India. I’m thankful to have people who were thinking of me in the midst of everything, but each phone call and text stung a bit.
Re-living the experience was quite painful, and I hadn’t come to an agreement with myself about how to respond when people ask the infamous, “How was India?”
I’m still unsure of how to answer a question that involves me summing up an entire country’s well-being, but until I find an appropriate way to articulate how these last few months have been, I’ll stick to the common, “It was good.”
To put it in a fairly mediocre metaphor – this pandemic feels like one giant speed bump in the road of life...and to make matters worse, not everyone has the means or resources to make over to the other side.
There’s a huge sense of loss all around the world. A loss of loved ones, a loss of jobs, a loss of shelter, a loss of celebrations, such as, weddings and graduations, a loss of opportunites, a loss of sleep, a loss of motivation, a loss of hope, a loss of well... whatever it may be for you.
For me – I lost 6 months of living in a place that I loved, with people that I grew to love, and along with that – I lost an extremely important internship that I had been looking forward to for over a year. Many little losses fill the cracks between the big ones, but at the end of the day, my overall loss is quite small in comparison to what others are experiencing.
I don’t feel any anger towards this, which isn’t uncommon, because anger and I aren’t very familiar with one another; but saddness and I go way back.
Today, and yesterday, and the week before, I have felt sad. Sad, with a hint of fear. Some days, I’m not even sure what I’m sad about or what I’m afriad of, because even now, I have more than I need. But, I still feel sad, and my sadness is accompanied by an arena full of other feelings.
More specifically – I feel lonely, because my current situation isn’t always relatable. I feel confused, because I felt that the Lord had placed me in India for such a certain purpose, and I didn’t leave feeling like that purpose was accomplished. I feel nauseous, because when I grow unsettled, I carry it in my stomach. I feel tired, because I haven’t slept through the night in over a year.
Feelings can be incredibly deceptive, and persuasive. I wish I had the same determination and motivation in life that my feelings have on me. They can convince me of almost anything, no matter how true or false their statement may be. My loneliness, confusion, nausea, and exhaustion, may seem valid in this particular season, but I’m trying to not give up and give in to these feelings. My feelings don’t have to have the last say about who I am or what it is I am going through.
In an earlier blog, I shared the family motto we had growing up, “Wurm Girls Are Tough.” When we fell off our bike, I would hear my dad shout from the end of the driveway, “it’s okay, WURM GIRLS ARE TOUGH.” When we lost a volleyball game, “Wurm girls are tough.” When we didn’t get into the college we wanted, “Wurm girls are tough.” When plans changed and things didn’t go our way....”Wurm.girls.are.tough.”
Did that mean we didn’t get hurt, feel sad, or become a bit bruised from the impact of whatever it was we were being “tough” about? Not at all. I think part of being tough was feeling the pain that came with the circumstances. The other part of being tough, was recognizing that whatever it was we were experiencing, we were going to be okay. Being tough can be about having the courage to both feel the impact fully and respond with hope (and maybe some tears and ice cream).
I hummed this phrase through my last few moments in India, and all the way home. As I nearly barfed all over the seat in front of me on my plane ride back to the US two months ago, I walked off that plane with my breakfast still in my belly hiccuping, “Wurm girls are tough.”
In this season of fighting to feel okay, I whisper to myself as I continue to lie awake in the middle of the night, “wurm girls are tough.” Don’t me get me wrong – It’s not my strength, or the strength of being a Wurm girl, that holds me together, but it’s the strength of Jesus in me. My weakness – His strength. A silly sang from my childhood is what’s getting me through this strange time – I often wonder what it is that’s getting you through all of this?
I don’t think our world will be the same after this, and some are saying that that’s a good thing. I think I agree. I am not unaware of the heartbreak and extreme pain that some are experiencing because of this virus, but I am aware that I’m not in control. And if anything, Covid-19 has taught us just that : we are not in control. And that’s the best news to me.
There’s a city in northern India where, for the first time in almost 30 years, the residents can see the Himalayan mountain range from their villages, because the lockdown period has allowed for air-pollution to lift.
A fog is lifting from our earth. I hope our eyes will be opened in response.