This week, I wanted to mention the "What now?" factor.
Often times, when returning home from the mission field, it's because we've finished a season of some sort. We are coming back to rest and to seek out our next step. It may be tempting as a friend to be asking about our plans, what may be coming next. What have we looked into? Applied for? Where are we headed? What's going on in our lives? There's not something inherently wrong with this. At some point, it's good to ask this. We need to know you care. The struggle comes when we've just returned home and are trying to catch up with everybody. We have several people a day to see, and often, every single person immediately begins asking these questions. This is hard for several reasons:
1. We may have returned home because a project was finished or a lack of funding. This means we were probably pulled out of a place we loved deeply and felt at home in. We may be mourning that loss and needing some time to learn to love being back again. Being asked what's next can be a bit like rubbing salt into that wound. Our hearts are tenderly missing those we just left and we may not be *quite* ready to picture a new place and new faces.
2. Even though this is never the intention, when friends automatically begin asking about your plans as they see you, it can sometimes feel as if it's not exciting just to have us home. When returning, we need to know we were missed and that we are desired right where we are at this moment. Just for being us, not for what we can do. When we know what the next step is, believe me. We'll tell you! We'll be so excited, we'll be shouting it from the rooftops. (Well, tweets and status updates.)
Ways to be a good friend with the "What now" factor:
1. Understand that we may not have wanted to come home at exactly this time and that we may be a bit sad about it. Ask what activities we can do together to ease this. Ask us about people we worked with. Let us tell you stories. They're usually quite interesting and fun!
2. Simply celebrate that we are home right now.
Focus on the current moment with us and make the most out of the time we are here. Have some fun. Celebrate. Plan nights out, roadtrips, and adventures!
Stay tuned for more next week.....