A lot of you have asked, “What’s it like coming back?” or “What’s it like to be back?” Well, it’s been strange at times. The hardest thing, when I first got back, was making simple decisions.
I flew into Atlanta on November the 10th at 5:30pm after 28 hours of flying and sitting in airports. I was picked up by my son and daughter-in-law who wanted to take me to dinner. I was all for that! After 4 ½ months of nothing but potatoes, beans and rice, I was ready for some meat! They decided to go to Applebee’s so all the way there I’m thinking about a steak – a great big, juice steak!!!!! By the time we sat down, I was pretty much on overload already! There was just way too much of everything, from lights to TV’s. (How many TV’s can you put in one room really!!!!!!) The waitress brought us menus and I went straight for the steaks. Oh, my gosh! There were 7 or 8 steaks to choose from! There were as many steaks as there were TV’s. You’ve got to be kidding me! How do you do you choose? I was in trouble.
I hadn’t had to make decisions like this in months. In Mbale, I just hope to find one thing, not seven. If I could have found just one steak in Africa I would have been freaked out and now I’m faced with seven!!!! Luckily my daughter-in-law was ordering a steak from the two for $20.00 menu (Thank you, Jesus!) so I just ordered what she ordered. Then the waitress wanted to know how I wanted it cooked! Oh my gosh!!! I bailed and said, “Just like her’s (my daughter-in-law’s).”
Now that I’ve been back a while, it’s still all the choices that make things so different. Really, how many different kinds of green bean choices do you need? Or soap, or chips, or…well, you get the idea. I’ve begun to see how much of my thinking and my time have been consumed with choices that don’t make much since. As I stand paralyzed in the canned vegetable aisle at Publix, I think to myself, “Just get some beans for goodness sake and get on with it.” It seems like I get my mind so wrapped up in choosing that I become consumed with making a good choice. Most of the things that I spend time making choices on will have no meaning next week or even tomorrow.
I’ve found that, for me, this compulsion to make choices can lead to a standstill with The Lord, as well. Let’s just use Sunday morning for an example. How many times have we gotten up on a Sunday morning and begun to think about whether or not we will go to church? There is really no choice to make. Just get up and go. If you’re sick, you could get healed after all. Or, how about the really crazy one, WHAT CHURCH SHOULD I GO TO? In our churches, we now have more choices than green beans that, for some reason, we feel like we have to worry about all the time. Like green beans, if you buy some and they don’t taste the way you prefer, just add a little something of your own to make it to more to your liking. Once you meet The Lord, that’s kind of a good place to hang out until He calls you elsewhere. It’s not the music, the youth group, or the lack of a youth group even that makes it the right choice, it’s The Lord. The Lord can speak clearly to us. Why are we struggling to make it a choice?
The lack of choices is actually one of the blessings that I’m receiving in Africa. By not having choices about stuff like green beans, etc, it seems to help make all of my choices a lot easier…which in turn makes my life a lot easier.
So there you have it, my first thoughts about being back in the US.