Monday, September 26, 2011

The Walls of Jericho

If you have attended Bible school at some point in your life, most likely you've heard the story of Jericho. If not, you can read it in the book of Joshua, chapters 2 and 6.

Jericho was a city with massive walls,

and right now I find myself staring at those walls.

What are they?

Lots of things.

Goodbyes, hellos, suitcases, clothes, visas, lists, documents, passports, airplane tickets, newspaper articles. 

Going back is weirder than going the first time. 

I wish I knew how to explain it better. 

You know what to expect which makes it better, but also makes it worse. 

And then there are the people around you...

No one who loves you really wants you to go. They didn't want you to the first time either, but they also understood wanting to be an exchange student. This however, is different. Compared to this, exchange was a lark in the park. 

Everyone reacts differently. Some people say things, some people don't. Some people avoid the subject altogether and pretend like everything's okay. Some overcompensate by trying to be helpful and some completely explode. Your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your significant other all react this way. Maybe they understand why you feel called to go do something like this. Maybe they don't. Maybe they admire you, maybe they're jealous that they don't have the strength to do what you're doing. Maybe they're afraid for you. Maybe deep down all of their good intentions are a secret selfishness. They know you are doing what you need to do, but they want you just to stay.

Whatever their thoughts, feelings and reactions, it places a lot of pressure on you. Suddenly you're bombarded with everyone's expectations. "Don't worry about it." "Have you done this yet? How about that? and that over there?" "This is me not caring" "Why don't you just settle down?" "You can't do that." "I'm not talking about this." "I'm glad you've finally dealt with that issue, now onto the next." "Why are you making this such a big deal?" "Let's talk about this more." "Let me tell you how I would handle it" "Why haven't you done this yet? You better plan on doing it before you leave." "Do you have enough money yet?" "I want to see you before you go" "When are you leaving?"  "Why haven't you left?" "When are you coming back?"  These are all things you hear on a daily basis, over and over until you can't hear the one thing that even matters in the first place -- the still, small voice of God. 

Add to that the way you feel inside. The questions and expectations you place on yourself. "What am I doing?" "Why am I doing this?" "Is this really necessary?" "What if, what if, what if...?" "How can I deal with this?" "How is this going to change me?" "Is this going to be effective?" "What do I want to do?" "What does God want me to do?" "How can I make them understand?" "I need to be good." "I can't let these people down." "What happens after this year?" "What are my goals?" "When am I leaving?" "Why haven't I left yet?" "When am I coming back?" And suddenly you're overwhelmed and you try to find a way to deal with that. You ignore your emotions or you break down and cry. You shut down or keep busy or stare blankly at the ceiling. 

It's true you know,
The Devil is in the details.

It would be nice if life had a large pause button so you could just take a breather. 
But time marches endlessly on...

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