I was sitting alone in my room tonight, mending a shirt by hand in a vain attempt to avoid packing. I had turned on Christmas music to try and remind myself of the coming season and the fact that I should be getting ready to go tomorrow. And my mind was a million miles away. Music in the background and busy hands... it's a great way to get some deep thinking done, even when you don't plan on doing some deep thinking.
I realized something... I haven't been excited to go home. Couldn't really explain it, just put it down to trying to get things done in order, prioritizing activities: close down hospital, pack hospital, work in security, sail to Tema, work in Galley, pack up and switch rooms (yup, moving from a 6 berth to a 4 berth... it's big stuff!!).
Tonight I realized it's not just that. It's old fears popping their heads up again. I have this fear of rejection that I've struggled with since I was a child. It's something I have to get past, so I'm going to going to write it out. Bear with me, or just don't bother reading this.
This year has been life-changing. I know I'm different. I've adjusted my opinions on things, grown, changed, learned new ways of thinking, doing, being. You can't go through Gateway, field service, community life and multiple international friends without being changed. You can't come to Africa without being changed, unless you steel your heart to it. How different am I? How much have I changed? I don't know. It's hard to tell here, so many of us have molded our lives together, have shared experiences that are amazing and heart-wrenching and God-inspired. In the sharing, we understand each other better.
Tomorrow I head home for a holiday, and it scares me just a little. First off, I already know I'm going to miss my friends here as though I've cut off one of my hands. But the fear comes in when I think of my friends and family at home... how different will my views and reactions be? Will they see the difference? Will it be a good difference? And how will they react to me?
I want everything to be the same as when I left, because then I just might know how to pick up and continue. I've been the travelling friend for a few years now, and you'd think I would know how to do this, how to jump in and pull those I love close and be the friend I've yearned to be every moment we've been apart. I know though, that life changes all of us, and they will have grown and changed too, I just hope we have grown in similar directions, and that the bond we've known won't be easily broken. I fear returning and being rejected by friends... who've changed or don't like the changes in me.
I know better though. It's time to focus on the positive. To remember the friends I have left have stuck with me through my comings and goings, have been excited with all my adventures. They know where I've come from and they know me. It's time I stopped doubting them.
So if you notice I'm a little hesitant when I get home, or that I'm not as excited as I should be... please help me work through this. And remember I'm leaving a little piece of my heart in Africa.