“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – (Stolen from a cursing text convo with a dear friend who also finds catharsis in verbal explosions)
I’m not sure where I’m supposed to start, because honestly, I’m not sure where I ended. Did I end the moment I said goodbye to Myriam or was the first to board the van, tearless and joyful in the face of certain uncertainty? Was I done the moment that the van sped away from Valpo and hit the highway? Was I done when after 16 hours of transit, over two different oceans and a moonlit Cuba and Florida coastline, the wheels of the plane finally touched KANSAN toil and I began to cry? They were beauty tears; I looked out the window knowing that I was home the minute I recognized the tin-roofed silos growing bigger as we descended, and realizing for the first time how much I wanted to see my sister and mom. The thought of hugging them after five long months seemed impossible and glorious and as we sat impatiently waiting to leave the plane, I nearly bawled. They were hot tears and full of enough emotion that even after I found my way into the Kansas City airport and calmed down after using the restroom, the minute I saw my family I began crying all over again.
If there is an end, then there must also be a beginning. What is the most confusing of all to me in this moment in time is knowing that while I left Chile, it’s not over. Yes, I came home. My body is here, and as I drift away from daily spoken Spanish, my mind is more here too. Walking back from greeting the clover’s half a block away from my house I realized without a sound that even if I hadn’t met Jesus in Chile, I couldn’t be the same as before if I tried. I can’t go back to the pre-Chile perspective even if I had just stayed in my room the entire time. The beautiful crux of it all is that I couldn’t have had a better time. I regret nothing, and I’m so confident in the things he has taught me and continues to teach me through Chile. I gained the best souvenir that I could ever find: grace. It doesn’t fit in my suitcase and it’s not from the region necessarily, it’s something I could find anywhere in this world as long as I’m looking for it. But Oh Lord what a difference it makes.
I had a slightly rough day today. That being said, I know that I’m bearing up pretty well considering I haven’t been home for even 14 hours. It’s strange. I feel the need to explain everything immediately, I need to share and give and make the world understand something that they simply won’t ever be able to experience fully with me. Even my best friends in Chile, who are some of the loveliest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing only know a tiny percentage of my experiences there. The sad truth is I can’t make other people understand. I take comfort because I know that Jesus has been with me, taking note even when I have not been. He saw and sees much more than I could have ever imagined, and he is guiding me even though I’m not 100% of what’s happening next.