As Emily and I prepared to leave Santa Maria just under a month ago, we were both struggling with the thought of leaving. This time, leaving was different. We knew it would be several months, potentially even a year before we return to Guatemala. As the departure day approached, my anxiety level was rising. I paced back and forth for days thinking about how I couldn’t force myself to leave. We joked about how we could dispose of our passports, or all the possible scenarios that would ensure we did not have to board the plane. The thought of not being able to see everyone at the project every day and no longer residing in the community we have come to call home. The thought of not being present for all the jokes, shared meals, tears, birthdays, soccer games, house visits and all life has to offer was scary. At the time, I didn’t understand my fear. I kept telling myself that I should be sad, or feel empty but, I should not be fearful.
People often ask us what our lives are like in Guatemala. Normally, as we begin to tell them, they shake their heads and say “better you than me.” We always crack a smile and tell them that we believe our worst days in the village are better than our best days in the States. Most of the time that interaction is so quick no one thinks twice, and we go about our lives.
As I came home and began to process everything, I began to realize where my fear was coming from. Those of you who know me, know that I struggle immensely for the short periods I spend in the States. I cannot get my brain to think about anything other than Guatemala. There is a feeling of disconnect and a lack of belonging when I return. It began to sink in for me. I feared spending an entire year with those feelings. With all the recent events, we have been reminded that life is incredibly short. I feared wasting an entire year of my life being unhappy despite all my efforts. Even beyond that we knew that no matter what happened, we will be returning to a different village than we left. Time passes and things change; it is a fact of life.
When I came home, I did not feel right. But, not in the way I had previously thought. I missed Guatemala. I wanted to be with the people more than anything. I would give anything to go back at any given moment. But, being home was okay. It was okay for the first time in two years. I thought that feeling would quickly pass. I actually waited for it, I just knew the day was coming when I would wake up miserable. When a week passed, I still could not understand why I did not feel like I did the previous times I had come home. We both know we are in the States to study and better ourselves to serve the community we love so much and with that has come a tremendous sense of peace.
Now, I understand. The same thing that made the worst days in the village okay, is the same thing that makes being home okay. That is the will of God. There is a peace and contentment beyond understanding that can only be experienced when you are doing what God created you for. While it may be challenging, I know this is what God has in His plan for us. And what a wonderful feeling that it. We feel as though we took a leap to commit to our studies with all that has been going on with our work in Guatemala, but God always provides.
I am continually reminded that this is for His glory. We are overwhelmed with what God has done, and cannot wait to see the new and powerful things He has in store. It can be easy to stress about funding for our programs while we are busy studying and cannot actively seek out support as we usually do, but we know God will provide through our faithful supporters.