It’s hard to accept that I’ve been back in the U.S. for a month now. I’m having a difficult time grasping the fact that I prepared for India for almost eight months, and now I’m talking about India in past tense. Different questions fill my mind almost every day, but the majority have a common theme: What do I do now?
Did I seriously just spend six weeks across the world in a chaotic foreign city? How do I keep going now that it’s over? How do I practically apply what just happened to my life now? The reality that India is truly over has hit me full force.
It’s hard to answer the question, “How was India?” I love people’s interest in my summer, but most can understand why I cannot answer that question in a couple of sentences. You see, I learned over the summer that I don’t have to default in “India was amazing,” because if you want the truth, I hated 85% of the things I saw. The trip was every emotion you could think of. But I’m so grateful for it.
However, things are so very different now.
Sometimes I find the experience fading rapidly from my awareness that I have to keep reminding myself it happened even though it was so vivid days ago. I’ve been struggling to find my footing. I’m at a loss when it comes to settling back to my normal life and move forward. I’ve just begun to start this journey of processing and it’s so painful.
It’s hard coming back.
It’s hard leaving a place that you were directly spoken to about, knowing there’s still so much more need.
It hard not to wish you had more time.
It’s hard to be wrecked by another way of life.
It’s hard to realize life keeps going on for my Indian friends, yet I’m not there anymore.
It’s hard knowing so much innocence is being taken away from young lives without them even knowing it’s wrong.
It’s hard sitting in a classroom getting an overpriced education while my little brothers and sisters are on the streets begging and going to bed so unaware of their value.
It’s hard to heal from something I’d never thought I’d have to endure.
It’s hard to be back in normal routines of mere business that I’m not content with, when I’ve seen things so much greater, better, and deeper.
It’s hard not to hold my little brothers and sisters and stare back into their joyous faces.
I’ve been resulting in telling vague stories here and there, while I work through this time of processing. It’s been very challenging for me to talk about India, even to my own best friends and closest family members. For a person who has felt pretty comfortable with vulnerability and opening up to people, it’s odd for me to withhold and choose to be silent. But I’ve been encouraged during this sacred time of solitude to remain honest with myself and my Father, because these stories won’t remain silent for long.
I want my response about India to be more than all this. I want to move beyond myself and look to what God is doing in the world. I want to take the time to focus on not just what I personally gained, but how God’s great movement across the world is crucial in this process. I pray my experience in India will launch me further into following Him onto my next journey of recognizing His grace in it all.
India wasn’t even meant to just be for my benefit. I wasn’t supposed to go just to check something off my spiritual bucket list or satisfy my wanderlust and then return home like nothing happened. It’s not about what I did. It’s about what I became and how He’s doing it. I learned so much about myself and God throughout this journey. These intense seven weeks were placing my selfish desires and expectations at the Lord’s feet and with that, He broke my heart for what breaks His. I was given a perspective to a way of life that didn’t revolve around me. A life that intentionally served others. He stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of. He expanded my horizons. He showed me the way He see’s things and how He’ll redeem the world.
And what a privilege it was to be a part of it. To STILL be a part of it.
This doesn’t make the process any easier. There are reminders all over that I’m not in India, and the fear of what’s next becomes a crushing pressure.
But when I step back from it all at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Jesus is worth it all. And if this struggle of uncertainty and processing means that I see Jesus more clearly—it’s worth every second.
Thanks you for your continued prayers and patience with my return.