I've been home for three days now. I wasn't sure what to expect when I stepped off the plane at Sea-Tac early Friday morning. But I did feel the frigid wind rushing through the passage between the plane and the Jetway. I knew I was home.
Rain clouds greeted the weary passengers traveling from far places, places much warmer and a lot dryer. Despite the chilling precipitation, I couldn't have felt more welcome.
I missed the terminal metro taking many of the same people on my flight to the baggage claim merry-go-round and as the doors shut I felt pretty foolish. But I was home. And that was all that mattered. I hopped on the next train and sat silently with my carry-on. I surveyed the cabin and saw a mixture of similar looks: looks of anticipation for our cars arrival at the gate and looks of relief for our journey being over. We had all made it, and all that was between us and our families, loved ones, and homes was an eerily silent subway ride.
The car stopped at baggage claim and we all stepped on the escalators headed towards the merry-go-round. As the escalator climbed, I became pretty excited about the reality of finally being able to see my family, a reality I had been deprived of while attending school on the East Coast. My family didn't disappoint.
At the top of the escalator my dad was pretty much right in the middle of the walkway directly after the ascending steps. I was happy to see his enthusiasm and excitement. I took a glance around the approaching floor and saw two different iPhones prepared to take as many pictures of my trip on the escalator as possible. Once I reached the top I was pretty much surrounded by heavy jackets and wet shoulders. After several pictures and hugs, we gathered my luggage and made our way to the car. The trip back to North Bend moved by quickly.
Over the past few days I have done a lot of reconnecting. I've gone to my favorite Thai restaurant, a high-school basketball game, both of my churches, and the best grocery store in town. I've shaken many hands, received several hugs, relayed my college endeavors, and reminisced memories. I've heard my name used a few times but the number of generic masculine titles weighs down the scale on the opposite side. I've held conversations for upwards of thirty minutes and exchanged passing greetings that didn't last longer than four seconds. I've seen old friends that I used to know and I've heard their words behind me like they never did go.
But what have I learned from my short time back? I've learned there needs to be desire to rekindle those relationships and an initial decision to go ahead and lay down the expectation that someone else will say hello first. I mean I'm the one that hasn't been here for four months...I'm the one that left...I'm the guest, no matter the amount of time I may have spent here. With this understanding in mind, I know that I shouldn't expect too much when it comes to people seeing that guy they haven't seen for a while. I should be the one to take the first step with the extension of my own hand.
Being home has definitely been different. The past stability I once held onto in comfort has become a new and unknown stability for the people I left behind. So in reality the stability I once knew has become the most unstable aspect of my life back home. But in stability we often grow apathetic and comfortable, leaving us incapable of new experiences, memories, and relationships. And that is something I am very fearful of.
The only parts of home I can really call stable are my family and my God. When it comes down to it, those are the only aspects of my life that have remained ever faithful, no matter where I go. God above all else is with me wherever I am. His faithfulness to me surpasses all understanding and knowledge. If I am in the pit; He is with me. If I am on the mountaintop; He is with me. Where I go, He goes. And His faithfulness even when I run from Him has proven true and good.
Aspects of my family, with all our quirks, jokes, and memories, permeate every corner of who I am. My desire to meet people and develop genuine friendship flows forth from my Dad's natural ability to talk to people. Compassion and love, displayed to me by my Mom, is shown in how I serve and love others. A desire to learn more about God and all that He has planned for my life is perfected in my sister's desire to see God move and most importantly "GO" where He is leading. My brother's innate sense of humor and wit encourages me to enjoy this life, laughing as much as I can.
My God and my family maintain the most consistent presence in my life. Without them I would be nothing and would lack the ability to even function.
I feel like I've been all over the place in this post but just understand I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with both culture-shock (flannel, atheism, and rain) and hometown-shock (old friends, old churches, and old acquaintances). I'm sure I'll bounce back once I settle back in but for the time being, I am feeling all kinds of crazy emotions. So this is probably where I'll stop. I'll be around the NB until January 14th. Spend time with God and spend time with your family. Love Him and love them.
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”