So you're headed "home" after serving overseas for a few years? Congratulations! I'll bet you're excited, terrified, grieving, thrilled, nauseous, stunned, confused and a little hysterical about that.
That's because you rarely say hello and excuse me in your own language anymore. You go full-speed from dawn until dusk and someone always needs you for something. You walk everywhere and out your back door is your favorite fruit vendor. The life you have now is relentless, frustrating, meaningful, glorious and heartbreaking, and...it's ending.
It takes discipline to believe you are complete, loved, clean and royal. It's a choice that will make you look weird because the world doesn't think like that, and in fact, it will shame you for attempting to live like you do.
But do it anyway and watch your life change.
Are you moving through a big life transition with trepidation: Afraid you will miss the will of God for your life, fearful you will never again do something as cool as you were doing; afraid you'll be lonely forever and forced to settle for whatever the "real world" hands you?
May I suggest you have a lot more control over the "real world" than you think you do, child of the Most High King.
Also, in the best expat neighborhoods and missionary communities, there's a convivial summer camp vibe as everyone gathers to eat together in the dark, again, passing another power outage playing guitar and singing. Then it's somebody's birthday and someone made a cake with margarine frosting because it was all they had, and it was strangely delicious.
It's not unusual to feel like a better, freer version of yourself here; skipping down the street with a local friend, who's invited you to eat with her family, hopping puddles because you have a mile to walk and you don't want to get your shoes wet.
There is easy togetherness that occurs in cultures that place high value on human relationships. We respond to that because humans were designed to be together, but in the US, it's like we've found ways to make that as inorganic and difficult as possible.
No wonder people fear going "home"
Because your missionary trusts God for their work, their salary, their housing, their future - something that seems impossible to you - you may have built them up as someone who is "SOOOO AMAZING."
As such, many missionaries only show the SOOOO AMAZING parts to their loved ones and supporters because they feel like it's expected of them.
You will do your returning missionary a huge kindness if you help them off that pedestal and let them be human as they transition. Here are a couple ways to do that: